Each day these women start their work from 10 p.m. One of their main responsibilities is to drag along deliveries of fruit, vegetables, and seafood to stalls throughout the market.
Hundreds of trucks carrying fruit and vegetables usually park at the entrance of the market each night. It is then up to the labourers to fulfill the task of unloading the items and then distributing them among the various businesses at the market.
Female labourers typically come from neighbouring northern provinces such as Hung Yen, Thai Nguyen, and Vinh Phuc. Indeed, they are forced to work far away from home in order to make ends meet. Theu from Phu Tho shares that her husband passed away when she was young, leaving her with the job of raising two children alone.
In other areas throughout Long Bien market, a group of women are busy preparing squid and fish cakes which go on sale in the next morning.
Lan of Hanoi says that International Women’s Day is just like normal days. Every day she must work from night to morning, preparing hundreds of bags so that trucks can pick them up in the morning. “Sometimes my hands become freezing during the cold weather,” she shares.
A woman packs tangerines in a basket so that truck drivers can make a timely delivery in the morning and transport them to neighbouring localities.
A local street vendor recalls during cold or hot weather she must carry on working to earn a living. Even skipping work for one day would severely reduce her income.
Thanh, the owner of a Phở eatery on Ly Quoc Su street, says her outlet is open through the night and her children are the main source of encouragement to motivate her to work hard.
A street vendor has a quick lunch on the pavement when no customers are about.
A woman takes a break after several hours of hard work.
This woman says she continues working to collect rubbish during the day as a way of earning extra money.
With International Women’s Day falling on March 8, the date seems to have no special meaning for these woman.