I’m very happy to know of Saolao Magazine, which will be launched later this year in Laos. I’m going to have to get my hands on the first publication. See the news articles for complete details.

Women’s issues the focus of new magazine

In Lao culture, women are always described as the ‘rear legs of an elephant’, unequal to the men who ‘hold up the animal’s front’, but this metaphor is set to crumble thanks to an upcoming new publication.

The Deputy Head of the Information Department of the Lao Women’s Union , Mr Saysamone Bouthdavong, said yesterday that his organisation was preparing to launch a women’s magazine, which would aim to promote gender equality in accordance with the policy of the Party and government.

The magazine, entitled Saolao (Lao Girl), will be introduced in Vientiane in July, he said, and would be published in both Lao and English.

“We have submitted our proposal to the President of the Lao Women’s Union to allow us to publish the magazine, and she is currently considering it. At this stage, we don’t anticipate any problems with getting a publication permit,” he said.

Mr Saysamone, who is also the magazine’s editor, said its content would not only inform readers of the government’s policy on gender, but also reflect the true nature of the policy’s implementation, and highlight areas where it is not being enforced.

“There will be several critical articles on the implementation of the government’s policy on gender equality,” he said.

He said the magazine would also cover many issues relating to women and the family institution, with the intention of promoting Lao culture while condemning violence.

However, Mr Saysamone maintained that the magazine would not be a completely serious publication, as it would contain profiles of outstanding women, information on weaving, shopping, the charms of the traditional Lao girl, how to raise children, new stars, sports, and travel.

He said the magazine would be different from those already on the market, as it would have a family appeal, and the cover would show women in traditional clothes.

“We will not have girls on the cover wearing jeans or western clothes, as other magazines do. Instead, we would like to promote traditional outfits,” he said.

He said he hoped the magazine’s unique content would encourage the conservation of traditional culture, as well as help foreign readers to better understand Lao culture.

Mr Saysamone was confident the magazine would sell well, even in an already-crowded publication market.

“One of the main challenges today is printing costs,” he said, adding that the magazine would welcome advertising from the business sector, to begin generating profits for the long term.

Mr Saysamone assured future readers that the magazine’s writers would be experienced journalists from the Women’s Newspaper, but that all contributions from the public would be welcomed so as to ensure content that was as balanced as possible.

By Ekaphone Phouthonesy
Published on April 5, 2007
Vientiane Time