Gender Equality is A ‘Silver Bullet’ for Development: Helen Clark


Vientiane, Lao PDR - Helen Clark, Head of the United Nations Development Group and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator, visited the Lao People’s Democratic Republic to join the 12th High-level Roundtable Meeting. Over 300 delegates from the government and development actors also participated, to discuss partnerships and cooperation for the effective implementation of the 8th Lao National Socio-Economic Development Plan.

Helen Clark, Head of UN Development Group and Administrator of UNDP. Photo: UN Women/Pathumporn Thongking

"If you can ensure that women are equal participants in development you will have far higher national development results. If women are fully economically and socially empowered, are able to make choices about their lives and emerge as leaders in large numbers, this will be critical for development. The full empowerment of women and gender equality are the ‘silver bullet’ to achieve development goals.” Clark told UN Women Asia Pacific.

Clark continued “If people are left behind – and women represent roughly 50 percent of the population – a country will never achieve its full potential. This has to be seen not as something which is useful, but as something that is essential. To have women fully empowered and enjoying equal rights it’s the right thing to do and it’s the smart thing to do for development.”

Helen Clark also attended a lunch hosted by UN Women Regional Director for Asia Pacific, Roberta Clarke, who was visiting Lao PDR to participate in advocacy events related to the ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence’. The lunch meeting was attended by prominent women leaders in the country to discuss trends, opportunities, and challenges for women in decision-making positions. Participants included officials from the National Assembly, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Finance, Lao National Commission for the Advancement of Women, Lao Women’s Union, Lao Disabled Women’s Development Center, Scaling Up Nutrition Civil Society Alliance, Lao National Chamber of Commerce and ANZ Bank.

Lao women leaders join Helen Clark and UN Women Regional Director to show their support for the ‘16 Days campaign Against Gender-Based Violence’. Photo: UN Women/Pathumporn Thongking

Helen Clark added “As Lao PDR renews its leadership, and I know there are very important meetings coming up to define the future shape of its leadership, we would like to see many more women at the top levels, because Lao women have so much to contribute to the development of the country”.

For further information, please contact:

Diego De La Rosa
Regional Campaigns Coordinator