The Australian Embassy in Laos recently highlighted the importance of sport in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, by hosting a panel discussion with representatives of the Australian National U16s Women’s Football Team the Junior Matildas and the Lao Football Federation (LFF) in Vientiane.
The successful event was hosted by Ms Jane Chandler from the Australian Embassy and was attended by organisations including the Ministry of Education and Sport, the Lao Football Federation, the Lao Women’s Business Association and the Lao ‘Male Champions of Change.’
“International Women’s Day on the 8th of March is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women and call for more action on women’s rights. On this day, Australia is sharing the message that we are more powerful together, when we work in collaboration, to break down stereotypes and gendered roles. This way we can create a world where women and girls everywhere have equal rights and opportunities” said Ms Chandler.
The discussion panel included the Head of International Relations of the LFF, Ms Keo Phawadee, Australian Head Coach Ms Rae Dower, and two Junior Matildas. The panel reflected on their experiences of sport; building relationships between countries, and promoting equal opportunities for women and girls.
“Communities, economies and countries are stronger when women and girls have equal voices and opportunities” said Ms Keo Phawadee. “It is great to see women developing confidence through football that can help them become leaders, and to see them build relationships with players from neighbouring countries like Australia.”
Sports initiatives throughout Australia now ASEAN 2019 offer unique opportunities across the region to not only empower women and girls, but to deepen our people-to-people links through skills exchange, collaboration and cooperation.