Australian Embassy
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Km 4, Thadeua Road, Watnak (P.O. Box 292)

Human resource executives engage on Women’s Empowerment Principles

Human resource executives engage on Women’s Empowerment Principles

Australia brought together senior human resource managers from major Lao banks to strengthen finance sector career prospects for women at a 29 February forum in Vientiane.

The initiative, run jointly with the Australian Chamber of Commerce (AustCham Lao), the Lao Government, and major banks, is designed to improve business practices of the Lao banking sector, as well as to promote gender equality.

Australian Ambassador to the Lao PDR, John Williams, said global research showed the financial benefits of supporting both female and male employees to realise their full potential in the work place.

‘There is lots of evidence to show that companies with a better balance of men and women in executive positions are more profitable,” Williams said. “It makes perfect sense that companies with HR policies targeted at attracting and retaining the best managers, irrespective of their sex, will achieve better results.”

The HR Forum, chaired by the Australian Embassy in Lao PDR and AustCham Lao, was the second of a series of Australian-funded events to help Lao banks implement the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) in their businesses. The WEPs are a set of principles for business, offering guidance on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community.

“Making full use of women’s talents will be critical to sustain long-term, inclusive growth for the Lao PDR, because of increasing competition.  For women to have successful careers, in the finance sector and elsewhere, we believe that HR policies must recognize that women and men sometimes have different needs and constraints. Maternity leave and child care are two of the more obvious ones,” Williams said.

The Forum included presentations by experts from the region, including Singapore-based Mr Philip Forrest, Director at Terracom Ltd and Singapore Institute of Directors, and Sydney-based Ms Robyn Perkins, Human Resource expert.

ANZ Bank Lao CEO and AustCham Lao President, Ms Tammy Medard, congratulated companies that have become signatories to the Women’s Empowerment Principles and encouraged those who are yet to sign up to join the movement.

“By becoming a signatory to the WEPs, you are part of a worldwide movement of organisations who aim to improve the current rate of progress towards gender equality.”

“I encourage you to take women’s empowerment to the next level in your companies.  Promote the Principles. Encourage your peers to take up the cause.” Medard said.

Media Enquiries: Melanie Fuller, Executive Director, AustCham Lao PDR at or on +856 20 2222 5302