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SRP to bridge gender gap

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SRP lawmaker Mu Sochua speaks about human rights and women’s roles in Cambodian politics during a press conference yesterday at the SRP headquarters in Phnom Penh.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Mu Sochua yesterday announced a new initiative to promote women’s involvement in politics ahead of commune elections in 2012 and national elections in 2013.

The announcement of the programme, Moving Forward with Women, For Women, was made at a press conference at SRP headquarters in Phnom Penh.

Mu Sochua, president of the women’s wing of the SRP, said the programme would run for the next two years and aimed to recruit women activists to serve as outreach workers to help educate women voters and create a political network to increase voter turnout among women in future elections as well as to promote more women candidates.

“The Sam Rainsy Party will encourage female candidates … to be listed for upcoming elections,” she said.

“We will also encourage more women to be leaders in society.”

The number of SRP women candidates elected to parliament has increased since the party’s first mandate in 1998, from one to six members of parliament, according to a party report distributed at the press conference yesterday.

The SRP initiative comes on the heels of a report by election watchdog Comfrel last month that urged government officials to work harder to eliminate the gender gap in local and national government.

The report, Politics of Gender and Providing Political Power to Women, found that a lack of political determination continues to hinder the empowerment of women in the political arena.

Nguon Nhel, first deputy president of the National Assembly, said yesterday that the ruling Cambodian People’s Party continues to support greater representation of women in government to help develop the country.

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