March 8, 2012
The Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism yesterday organised a meeting at the National Culture Hall to commemorate International Women’s Day with women’s empowerment the hot issue for discussion.
Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Professor Dr Bosengkham Vongdara, female public servants and retirees from the ministry, and invited guests attended the ceremony.
The ministry’s Women’s Union Vice President, Ms Somchit Phomsavanh, briefed participants on the day’s history, women’s movements around the world and in the country, and the position and policies of the international community and the Lao government.
International Women’s Day, originally called International Working Women’s Day, is marked on March 8 every year.
The day first emerged from the activities of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe. The first National Women’s Day was observed in the United States on February 28, 1909, when the Socialist Party of America designated this day in honour of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, where women protested against harsh working conditions.
In 1910, a Socialist International meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, established a Women’s Day, international in character, to honour the movement for women’s rights and to build support for achieving universal suffrage for women.
As a result of the Copenhagen initiative, International Women’ Day was marked for the first time on March 19, 1911, in many European countries, when more than a million women attended rallies. In addition to the right to vote and to hold public office, they demanded the right to work, to vocational training, and to an end to discrimination in the workplace.
The United Nations’ theme for International Women’s Day this year is ‘Empower Women – End Hunger and Poverty’, aiming to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas.
In different regions, the focus of the day ranges from general respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration of women’s economic, political and social achievements.
The Lao Women’s Union is a member of the Women’s International Democratic Federation, and the Lao government has formulated policies and regulations, and established mechanisms to promote women’s rights and advancement.
In his remarks at the ceremony, Professor Dr Bosengkham Vongdara said he highly valued the crucial role and participation of women in national missions, especially in the sectors of information, culture and tourism.
He reminded all present of the serious intentions of the ministry’s Party leaders to fight for the advancement of female civil servants.
Dr Bosengkham also expressed his appreciation for the female civil servants who have improved themselves and helped develop the ministry as a whole. As part of the ceremony, participants watched a variety of cultural performances and participated in games with gifts on offer.
On the same day, many ministries, government bodies, private businesses and international organisations in Vientiane also organised activities to mark the occasion.