Women entrepreneurs in Lao PDR

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Women play a crucial role in the development of Lao PDR's economy.

While remarkable progress has been made on economic achievements in Lao PDR, gender gaps remain on several indicators particularly education, literacy rates, and business participation. The contributing factors are complex and likely due to de facto rather than de jure constraints.

Lao PDR performs well on most legal and regulatory indicators and most laws are gender-neutral. Nevertheless, women and men tend to be concentrated in different sectors, endowed with different educational levels and skills, have varying access to networks and information, and have separate cultural/family responsibilities, which tend to lead to different levels of economic participation between women and men.

Lao PDR has a strong legal framework and system in place to support Gender Equality. Yet, while laws and policies tend to be gender-neutral, they lead to different outcomes between men and women. On average, women in Lao PDR tend to exhibit lower literacy levels and educational achievements. The difference is wider in areas outside of Vientiane. Women entrepreneurs in Lao PDR tend to be concentrated in smaller firms, be service oriented, vary in representation across regions, and participate in some degree of the trade. Men tend to concentrate more on sectors such as construction, transport and warehouses, and electricity and mining, which are medium and large enterprises.

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC) is committed to addressing the specific challenges affecting women-owned and managed enterprises through supporting the implementation of possible complementary policies and interventions to alleviate these constraints and mitigate potential adverse impacts of increased economic activities on gender equality.

This​ website will be another channel to promote the business of more female entrepreneurs by promoting transparency and effectiveness with access to laws and practices related to business operations in Lao PDR.

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Last update: Wednesday, 24 January 2024

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