The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank (WB) have praised the voice and participation of Lao women in a newly launched report on the country’s gender equality.

“As Laos continues its development path, empowering women and girls will be a key to translating the country’s economic growth and demographic dividend into development achievements,” WB Country Manager in Laos, Keiko Miwa, said in the Gender Equality Assessment for Laos.

According to the two financial institutions, Laos still faces gender inequality and vulnerability, especially in remote rural areas.

Laos could reap greater benefits from the country’s rapid economic growth by reducing gender inequality and vulnerability in remote rural areas while enhancing women’s ability to take full advantage of expanding economic opportunities, particularly in urban and lowland areas, the two financial institutions noted.

The report also suggests that although strong government commitment to achieving gender equity has progressed, persistent imbalances remain in human development endowments such as in health, education, and clean water and sanitation, particularly in remote areas. Geographic, socio-cultural and linguistic challenges remain.

The assessment synthesizes information and findings from recent literature and research on gender issues in Laos for ADB and the WB’s country partnership strategies.-VNA