Transport sector officials from Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, along with development partners and staff from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), are gathering in Hanoi from July 24-26 to discuss promoting gender equality through effective design and implementation of transport projects.

At the three-day Mekong Gender and Transport Workshop, participants from across the Mekong sub-region will exchange practical knowledge on how gender has been successfully addressed in projects, share experiences of ensuring transport systems are inclusive and accessible for all people , and discuss gender issues in different modes of transport and how to overcome challenges.

This is a chance for parties to raise awareness about how transport projects can empower women by expanding access to services, income and employment opportunities, and social interaction, noted the ADB and AusAID.

“Too often transport projects are assumed to be gender neutral. Proactive steps need to be taken to ensure that projects respond to women’s different mobility needs as transport users, and their priorities must be heard in transport sector planning and policy”, said Andrew Head, ADB Deputy Country Director for Vietnam

According to Michael Wilson, AusAID’s Mekong and Regional Minister-Counsellor, from the way land acquisition is undertaken through to the changes in economic activity – loss of livelihoods and new livelihood opportunities - that result from transport projects, the interests of women must be front and centre if negative impacts on communities are to be minimised and new opportunities maximised.

ADB’s long-term strategic framework, Strategy 2020, places gender equity as one of five drivers of change to achieve an Asia and Pacific region free of poverty, while support for transport sector development is an important priority for both ADB and AusAID in the Mekong sub-region.-VNA