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Ruling party promotes women

Ministry appoints female deputy governors in all but one province

THE ruling Cambodian People's Party has announced an increase in the number of female appointees to  government, according to officials who said women have now been elevated to the position of deputy governor in 23 of the Kingdom's provinces and municipalities.

"The Ministry of Interior has appointed women as deputy provincial governors in all the provinces and municipalities except Pailin, where it is still looking for a candidate," said Sak Setha, director general of the ministry's General Administration Department.

"We are carrying out our long-term policy regarding the integration of women into [Cambodia's] political affairs," he said, adding that the appointments were made just prior to the July 27 general election, which saw large gains for the CPP.

Each province and municipality has five or more deputy governors,  posts that have historically been dominated almost entirely by men.

Chou Bun Eng, the director general for social development at the Ministry of Women's Affairs, said the appointments were an important first step on the road to equality.

"Even if there are still no female provincial governors, the women will learn a lot in their new positions," she said. "We lack a balance between men and women, [but] the policy has encouraged more women to have roles in government."

But Mu Sochua, Sam Rainsy Party deputy secretary general, said the government's progress in gender equality was being offset by the exclusion of talented women who were not members of the CPP.

"I am in favour of having more women in decision-making positions, but these should not be political appointments," she said.

"These are positions within the government, and should therefore be open to other qualified women in the civil service."



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