Deputy PM Wants Increased Focus on the Rights of Adolescent Girls

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Ethnic minority youth pictured participating in an Entrepreneurship Camp in Feung District, Vientiane province | Photo credit: Aide et Action

The Deputy Prime Minister called for relevant departments to increase their focus on advancing the rights of adolescent girls at a recent meeting.

Deputy Prime Minister, Chairperson of the National Commission for the Advancement of Women, Mothers, and Children (NCAWMC), Professor Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune, led a meeting of the NCAWMC and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with Vice Governors, National Assembly members, and relevant ministries on the commitment to further the rights of adolescent girls in the country.

The meeting emphasized developing the living condition for adolescents, especially young girls residing in rural areas, who often struggle to complete their education and drop out. Some of them also get married very early due to customs and traditional beliefs in their village.

He suggested several solutions to resolve such issues, adding that youth from all parts of the country deserve access to primary school education, especially girls so that they can develop their quality of life and become financially independent. School administrators, teachers, community leaders, education development boards, and parents’ associations could play a vital role in making this happen.

“Much more must be done to encourage communities to participate in the development of the school environment and ensure that girls attend school, as well as promoting professional and life skills so that more people can earn a decent income and improve their living standards,” he said.

The Deputy PM also asserted that early marriage and pregnancy for young women are as bad as violence and he encouraged relevant departments to raise awareness and educate young people regarding gender equality and sexual violence in households.

At a local level, he urged the National Commission for the Advancement of Women, Mothers, and Children to work alongside the central government and local authorities to guarantee good physical and mental health for children. This will enable them to obtain a quality education and acquire the skills to later earn a living.

Since over half of Laos’s population is under the age of 25, the Deputy PM stressed that the country’s social and economic growth can be achieved through urgent, targeted investments in young people, including adolescent girls, who will be the future and backbone of this nation.