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Union furthers women's empowerment

The Lao Women's Union (LWU) member committee and development partners met yesterday to discuss women's economic empowerment and gender equality as well as sustainable environmental protection.

Meanwhile, the meeting was also timed to celebrate the 107th International Women's Day on March 8.

Participants from several sectors including the UN Women, International Labour Organisation (ILO), CARE and NGOs, have exchanged opinions on women's development in Laos, including empowering female market vendors, women and the changing world of work, women's labour migration and genders in disaster disk reduction.

UN Women Laos has offered ways to empower women market vendors in Vientiane, as well as support for Lao women's machinery and other relevant government structures to ensure women vendors' rights and access to assistance.

It will also provide capacity building, help organise a women's market vendor's group, and improve access to reasonable financial services for female market vendors.

UN Women Laos will also be encouraging access in the market management committees and assisting women street vendors in securing proper spaces to sell their products and expanding research on women market vendors beyond the capital and further exploring specific issues.

According to the report, titled “Women's invisible burden: The struggle for dignified and meaningful livelihoods in the informal sector in Laos,” women represent more than 90 percent of vendors in fresh food markets across the country and earn 100,000-500,000 kip daily on average.

However, women market vendors in Vientiane have faced exorbitant rent and electricity bill increases. They are also poorly represented in decision-making bodies in business life.

Women also do up to four times more household chores and care work than men, and are heavily represented in the 71 percent of the population who are reliant on subsistence agriculture, according to the UN Women report.

During the meeting, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) also delivered a presentation about women and the changing world of work and reviewed their successes of outreach education and training for women, entrepreneurship skills, finance, management and access to markets.

The ILO has worked to expand access to production assets (land), resources and credit and eliminated violence at work as well as extended social protection to formal workers and promoted the effective enforcement of the labour law and social security law.

The ILO has also helped increase access to social security, promoted the voices and representation of women, safe migration for women and increased recognition of care work and domestic workers.

To further strengthen the Lao women, the Lao Women's Union (LWU) has continually improved women's standing in various fields including the law, female worker protection, as well as promoted gender equality and children's rights.

The LWU will cooperate with their development partners to manage female and child workers at many workplaces, such as restaurants and entertainment venues, while looking to help victims of human trafficking.

As well, they will continue to improve their lives and support women and children in every local community.



By Times Reporters
(Latest Update
March 08,

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