The Cambodian People’s Party will appoint one female secretary of state and one female undersecretary of state to each government ministry if it wins the National Election on July 28, a party statement said yesterday.
CPP president Chea Sim signed off on the Central Committee pledge, posted on the party’s website yesterday, to boost the number of women in senior roles.
“We must [diversify] . . . in order to show the CPP’s desire to increase the number of women in leadership in all national institutions,” the document states.
Sonket Sereyleak, education and gender programs coordinator at the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, said her research showed that only 16 of 198 secretary of state positions were held by women, a mere 8 per cent.
And women held only 30 of the 205 undersecretary of state positions (15 per cent), she added.
“We welcome the ruling CPP’s promise to appoint more women at the national level,” she said. “It will enable them to have a stronger voice and propose laws relating to women’s issues.”
Sereyleak said her organisation wanted women to hold at least 30 per cent of the leadership positions in the government and its ministries.
Tep Nytha, secretary general of the National Election Committee, said he was not surprised at the announcement, because parties had been focusing on addressing issues related to women and youths.
He added that about 52 per cent of the Kingdom’s 9.6 million voters are women and 36 per cent are aged between 18 and 30.
Yim Sovann, spokesman for the Cambodia National Rescue Party, said his party has yet to devise plans for the make-up of its ministries if it won the election.
“We haven’t started thinking about this issue,” he said. “But in principle, we’ve encouraged parties to promote more women. Numbers of female candidates, however, are still low.”
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said he was not aware of the number of women holding positions in the government.