The National Commission for the Advancement of Women (NCAW) and the Lao Journalists’ Association on Wednesday held a training course on women’s rights issues in Laos.
The session was attended by 24 journalists from media organisations in Vientiane and was led by the Director General of the NCAW Secretariat, Ms Chansoda Phonethip.
The course aimed to broaden participants’ knowledge and give them a deeper insight into women’s rights, as well as the National Action Plan for gender equality for 2016-2020. Participants also learned about the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Sustainable Development Goals, Beijing Platform for Action, and the survey about violence against women in Laos in 2014.
Ms Chansoda said the Beijing Platform for Action considered appropriate policies and methods to achieve gender equality and women’s rights. There are 12 areas of concern, focusing on women and poverty, women and education, women and health, women and economics, women’s rights, and violence against women and children.
Deputy Head of the Division of Policy and Legislation of the NCAW Secretariat, Ms Vatthana Inlokham, said the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women highlights the rights, benefits, and other opportunities that women will receive from the government on the way to achieving gender equality, in the fields of education, healthcare, jobs, economics and other areas.
The NCAW Secretariat made reference to a 2014 survey on violence against women in Laos that was carried out by the NCAW and the Lao Statistics Bureau, with specialists and funding provided by the United Nations Population Fund, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, and the World Health Organisation.
Violence against women and especially domestic violence remains an issue in Laos. The survey interviewed 2,997 women nationwide and found that 30 percent had been harmed in some way. One in three cases involved the physical, sexual or mental abuse of women by their husbands, while 2 percent were physically harmed by their husbands while pregnant.
The survey reported that women aged 15-19 were at risk of being sexually abused, while women aged 30-40 were at risk of being physically abused.
Nearly half of the women who were harmed physically or mentally did not tell anyone, out of fear or shame. Only one in five women sought help from local authorities, the police, or health services.
Obviously there are obstacles to resolving this issue and education is required among local communities concerning gender equality, especially among those who are poverty stricken and at risk of being lured by human traffickers.
Source: Vientiane Times