Women play an important role in driving economic growth and dominatethe smallscale business sector in Vientiane
(KPL) A UN Women’s study has shown that females make up more than 90 per cent of vendors in fresh food markets across the country, while they reportedly make up 80 per cent in Vientiane.
Female vendors can earn 100,000-500,000 kip (US$12-62) daily on average.
The study on the Situation of Women Market Venders in Vientiane Capital, a situational analysis on female market vendors, suggests that women play an important role in driving economic growth and dominate the small-scale business sector in Vientiane.
Despite women representing the vast majority of vendors in fresh food markets, their roles and contribution to the local economies often go unnoticed and their voices unheard in decision-making bodies.
Findings of the Vientiane-based report reflect that a greater proportion of women engage in vulnerable work than men, including informal work, self-employment or unpaid work for the family business.
Lao women are subject to the same economic and social inequalities faced by millions of female market-vendors around the world who tenuously eke out a living in the informal, business sector.
Millions of women around the world are still struggling with the economic and social dimensions of gender inequality. Put simply, they are not equal in the workplace and are still fighting for equal rights to a good job, fair pay, safe working conditions, adequate pensions in old age, healthcare and safe water.
According to the Gender Resource Information and Development Centre under the Lao Women’s Union, a lack of education and economic opportunities and limited access to resources drive women into the informal sector and small-scale enterprises.
The vast majority of these women fall into one or more vulnerable groups: ethnic minorities, informal workers, poorly educated, living with disabilities or residing in remote areas.
These women encounter even greater obstacles to decent jobs, services and other fundamentals of well-being.
A study, “Progress of the World’s Women 2015-2016: Transforming Economies, Realizing Rights,” conducted by UN Women, investigates the current status of gender equality across the world and makes recommendations for actions to address the gaps in order to achieve sustainable development goals.
It focuses on the global economic and social dimension of gender equalities.
“The reports look particularly at the invisible economy of unpaid care and domestic work. This invisible contribution is acknowledged to anchor all economies and societies. It is women and girls who carry its weight,” said Regional Director of the UN Women’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific Miwa Kato at the Vientiane launch of the report on Feb 1.