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Updated: February 17, 1987 05:00 PM GMT
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While the status of women has improved in Laos, polygamy still exists despite 12 years of effort by the state to eliminate the practice, a Laotian diplomat admitted here in early February.

"It will take time to root out this decadent practice not only from the ruling circle but from ordinary people," he said.

Many Lao women hold responsible positions -- a situation quite different from other communist countries, the diplomat continued. In many communist countries, people do not even know the wife of the head of state, he said.

In contrast, Thongvinh Phomvihane, Prime Minister Kaysone Phomvihane´s wife, holds several positions, including the chairmanship of the Lao Youth Association.

Many women´s associations have been established in the country´s 17 provinces as part of the government´s efforts to upgrade the status of women, he said. Women outnumber men in Laos as a result of the war.

Lao women have a national organization, the Federation of Lao Women, whose representatives participate in women´s meetings throughout the socialist world, he continued.

They also have their own magazine, "Mae Ying" (Women), which aims at teaching them Marxist-Leninist ideology, he said.


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