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Push to keep girls in school

Curbing the number  of girls dropping out of school and a focus on gender equality in education were the motivations behind the Ministry of Women’s Affairs’ “Because I Am a Girl” campaign, which was launched yesterday in conjunction with Plan International.

Speaking at the announcement, which coincided with International Day of the Girl Child, Khim Chamroeun, Ministry of Women’s Affairs secretary of state, highlighted the large number of girls dropping out of school.

“There is a traditional Khmer saying that girls need to study more than boys, girls must do the housework, travel far for school and poor families cannot afford to send them,” Chamroeun said. “We must work to change this idea and improve female education opportunities.”

If approved by the National Assembly, a program to send educators to rural communities to address societal and planning gaps in education will begin by the end of the year.

Plan International will provide assistance to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to support the program.

Based on a 2011 survey, girls consistently drop out of school at higher rates than boys, and with increasing frequency as they progress through school.

Supriyanto, country director of Plan International, said the government must have a balance between female and male education directives.

“We see that there is a gap between male and female education because of female discrimination in the education system,” he said. “Traditional Khmer society lets girls do housework, but not hold a job in the formal workplace, with girls helping mothers to support the family.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Sen David at



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