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Advancing women’s rights in Lao PDR: development of Gender Equality Strategy through awareness and capacity building

) The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) organized a two-day training session to build capacity of MPI staff toward the development of a Gender Equality Strategy.

Led by the MPI arm of the National Commission for Advancement of Women and Mothers and Children (NCAWMC), senior staff and programme officers of MPI participated.

Based on the National Gender Equality Strategy 2021-2025, following the training, participants will develop a gender strategy for MPI. The sessions will help participants understand the development process and the differences between strategies and plans as well as how to link the national strategy to the sectoral one.

They will learn how to apply a Balanced Scorecard and consider coordination of the interventions with other sectors and departments. The training will combine theoretical and practical exercises to analyze the internal and external factors of vulnerability and learn how to formulate vision, mission, desired results, indicators and milestones.

“This training is critical to the development of human resources, particularly deepening understanding of gender equality and strengthening capacity of staff in planning and integration of gender equality into every aspect of our works,” said Ms Thamma Phetvixay, Director General of Personnel Department and Vice Chair of NCAWMC of MPI. “These two-day training provide a great opportunity to exchange and discuss gender equality. I’d like to thank UNFPA for their support and partnership in this capacity building for MPI staff,” she added.

Earlier this year, the Government of Laos made significant progress on the gender portfolio. Laos has officially agreed to endorse the Second National Plan of Action on Preventing and Elimination of Violence against Women and Violence against Children (2021-2025) (NPAVAWVAC) and the Fourth National Plan of Action on Gender Equality (2021-2025) (NPAGE) at a Government Meeting in May 2021, chaired by Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh.

Efforts to promote women’s rights and equal opportunities advance the commitment of the Lao PDR to the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) and to the CEDAW and CRC. This includes ending all forms of violence, and harmful practices women and girls suffer from, implementing strategies to leave no one behind, and increasing investments for the wellbeing of women and girls.

“By giving women more opportunities, we are fulfilling their human rights, gender equality benefits both men and women. The Lao PDR has a strong policy framework and conducive environment for gender equality. What is needed now is to turn these laws and policies into actionable plans that make a difference in the everyday lives of women and girls within the country,” said UNFPA Country Representative Mariam A. Khan.

The NCAWMC of the MPI will coordinate and implement the activities of the Gender Equality Strategy and ensure male and female staff engage equitably. The Ministry will set targets aligned to the National gender equality strategy.

“The workshop was very stimulating as it deepened our understanding of gender equality milestones and mainstreaming. As an institution, we must start by applying principles of equality within our teams. If women are equally represented in decision making processes, we can ensure that our fellow citizens are represented in the policies and interventions formulated at the high level,” said Ms. Niphaphone Souk-aloun, Director of the Department of Advancement of Women, Mothers and Children, MPI.

Source: Lao News Agency

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