Spotlight on Women’s Right To Access, And Have Representation In, All Areas Of Public Life

Lao Women’s Union (LWU), UNFPA, and partners united on the occasion of the annual International Women’s Day to accelerate progress towards gender equality by bringing women in all their diversity into the spotlight with various activities across Vientiane.

Vice Ministers and Ambassadors, presidents of ministries’ LWU, and partners who support Gender Equality gathered at Vientiane’s That Luang for the third family healthy walk to promote women’s right to access, and have representation in all areas of public life.

President of the Lao Women’s Union Inlavanh Keobounphanh said, “In the era of globalisation, the use of modern technology and modern communication has become a factor in the lives of citizens around the world, including the Lao PDR. This has had both positive and negative impacts on a number of women who lack the skills and know-how on technology which have often been misled and become victims of technology-facilitated gender-based violence.”

“Thus the theme of this year’s IWD “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality” is to ensure that everyone has safe access to technology and to protect the rights and interests of women and girls from online violence.”

The Lao PDR consistently supports progressive international conversations and consensus around women’s rights, many of which are reflected in national laws and policies.

UNFPA Representative Mariam A. Khan congratulated LWU for organising this event and for bringing women, men, young and old together. “Let us mark this day by understanding that technology and innovation can be game changers for women and girls’ rights if design and use respond to their specific needs and use, be it on the streets in the real world or in online spaces in the virtual world.”

Vice Minister of Technology and Communications Santisouk Simmalavong said, “This is the most important time to highlight gender inequality in our economy and society through lens of digital technology. In particular, it shows the importance of protecting women and girls who are being taken advantage of and exploited by the use of technologies and the internet. Our Department of Cyber Security has law on Cybercrimes and other relevant laws in place to receive reports from individuals and refer cases to the cybercrime police.”

In the run up to the IWD, on 4th March, the Ministry of Health and UNFPA organised the “Walk for Health” at Patuxay Monument to raise awareness of women’s specific health requirements which are essential for gender equality. The process was led by the Minister of Health Bounfeng Phoummalaysith, and his two deputies Phayvanh Keopaseuth, and Sanong Thongsana and gathered more than 400 people at this iconic landmark.

Minister of Health Bounfeng Phoummalaysith, during the event said, “The celebration theme fits in well with us. We have just launched the Digital Health Strategy that focuses on using technology and innovation to improve the health of our people. The technology will be used by our health staff to improve patient management and care, to allow data to be collected and use. It will help us to reduce Maternal Mortality Ratio and achieve our goals. We still need to focus on safe referral and encourage women and girls to access services to ensure safe delivery”.

The IWD celebration will be followed by free eye checks for women at the Women’s Training Center on March 9, and an advocacy and Cultural event will be held at the International Cooperation and Training Center (ICTC) on March 10. IWD 2023 will wrap up with a “Blood Drive” at the UN house on March 22, for ensuring that women can access life saving blood during C sections and post delivery hemorrhage.

Source: Lao News Agency

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