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New Australian Program for Women’s Leadership

The Minister for Education and Sports, H.E. Mrs Sengdeuane Lachanthaboun, and the Australian Ambassador to Laos, John Williams, today launched a new program of support for women’s leadership in Laos. 

The   two-year “Investing in Women’s Leadership in Laos” program, consists of an executive development program for public and private sector women leaders, and a job readiness program for young female graduates of the National University of Laos.

Minister Sengdueane has agreed to serve as patron of the new women’s leadership program.

At today’s launch ceremony, the Minister and Ambassador presented certificates to 15 female leaders from Laos who will take part in a 10-week Australia Awards Fellowship program in Australia, involving study and work place visits, arranged through Flinders University in Adelaide.

Launching the program, Ambassador Williams saidthe Australian Government, through its aid program, foreign policy and business networks, was keen to be at the forefront of addressing gender inequality and women’s leadership in the region. 

This involved a range of activities to enhance women’s voices in decision-making, promote women’s economic empowerment and end violence against women and girls. 

“Ensuring women have the same opportunities as men to reach their full potential is vital for every country, vital for national development, for prosperity and to ensure we have inclusive, functioning societies where everyone’s contribution is valued equally,” Williams said.

Mrs Sengdeuane thanked the Australian Government for its support for women’s leadership in Laos. 

“I am convinced this new initiative will help Lao women access the type of knowledge and skills that will open doors for them,” the Minister said.

The total value of the Investing in Women’s Leadership in Laos program will be A$550,000 (around LAK 3.4 billion) over two years from 2017.

Program activities will be implemented by the Laos Australia Institute, which  also manages the Australian Government’s human resource development program in Laos, including Australia  Awards and domestic Lao scholarships.