4th Annual Adolescent Research Day focuses on Gender Equality among adolescents: Issues, challenges, and way forward
15 October 2019
- The 4th Adolescent Research Day (ARD) was held at Done Chan Palace Hotel, Vientiane Capital on Tuesday 15 October 2019. It was led by the Lao Tropical and Public Health Institute (Lao TPHI) and supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Lao PDR and Medical Committee Netherlands-Vietnam (MCNV).
Around 190 participants from different government ministries, research institutions and international organizations from Lao PDR, Brunei, Japan, India, Vietnam, Canada, Netherlands and Great Britain participated in the conference. It was chaired by H.E. Associate Professor Dr. Phouthone Muongpak, Vice-Minister of Health and H.E. Madame Bandith Pathoumvanh, Vice President of Lao Women’s Union and Chairperson of NCAWMC, Ms. Mariam A. Khan, Representative of UNFPA in Lao PDR.
This scientific conference provided platform for researchers, policy-makers and development partners from the region to share their existing research evidence and experience as well as promoted further collaboration that will benefit adolescents inclusively. This year, ARD focused on “Gender Equality among adolescents: Issues, challenges, and way forward”, for achieving the goal of empowering adolescents and young people by 2030, especially adolescent girls (represented by Noi).
“Research findings are always the strong evidences that serve for policy development or policy adaptation which reflects well to current health situations, which in return might be beneficial for Lao people and in the region. In addition to that, the Lao government has adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) into the “8th agenda of National Socio-economic Development Plan”. Among the 18 goals embodied in the SDGs, the goal number 3 “Good Health and Wellbeing” is related to health.” H.E. Associate Professor Dr. Phouthone Muongpak, Vice-Minister of Health said in his opening’s remark.
Gender Equality plays important role in education, health, poverty reduction, enhancing human resource capacities and national socio-economic development. Many partners from all sectors are working together and putting more efforts aspiring for boys and girls to become equally valued and given equal opportunities in all sectors of society, including economic and political participation and decision-making in their individual lives.
Moreover, Ministry of Health and UNFPA officially launched the campaign “Me, My body, My Planet, My Future” on the International Day of the Girl Child 11th October 2019 to encourage adolescent and youth to take actions on advancing the SDGs regarding their own health, and well-being, climate change and gender equality. Prior to the official launch, numerous of adolescent and youth took part in its online activity/challenge #myplanet2030 to share their actions to protect the planet. Upcoming activities will also be focusing on gender equality, health, education, employment and participation.
UNFPA’s Representative, Ms. Mariam A. Khan said at the opening:
“Generating quality research evidence through data disaggregated by sex and other dimensions such as urban, rural, educational and income quintiles allows us to understand range of disparities among adolescents and this is key to informing, monitoring and achieving the adolescent-specific targets of the SDGs. This is the reason why Noi 2030 Framework and Noi Ecosystem include strengthening research evidence as a key component”.
The Lao government is constantly promoting gender equality by adopting policies, strategies, laws, measures, action plans, programs, education and training on building consciousness, recruiting human resources, providing information, financial support, IEC materials and creating favorable conditions for women and men for an all-round self-development to strengthen such activities.
H.E. Madame Bandith Pathoumvanh, Vice President of Lao Women’s Union and Chairperson of NCAWMC shared with the participants:
“The Law on Gender Equality’ is currently being developed. Research plays significant role in informing government policies and strategies, and the research evidences from different countries presented at this forum will provide important insights and will enhance our understanding on various aspects of gender equality among adolescents”.
The researchers and presenters from Lao PDR, Brunei and India presented their research evidence and experiences which included research on gender equality among adolescents and experiences of successful programmes, status of gender equality among adolescents with focus on health, child marriage, violence against women, in education, nutrition and labour among adolescents in Lao PDR and the region.