Women were urged yesterday to take a more active role in politics by running in upcoming commune elections.
A group of 12 NGOs that comprise the Committee to Promote Women in Politics encouraged women to take part in this year’s third mandate of the commune council elections – due to be held on June 3 – in a bid to secure 25 per cent female representation in commune councils by 2015.
Koul Panha, executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, said the 2012 elections were an important step in achieving the 25 per cent goal by 2015.
“There are still fewer women in politics, especially at commune level because they fear being threatened, they fear violence and they see a lack of balance between the ruling party and opposition,” Koul Panha said.
“We urge woman to stand in the 2012 election.
“It is very important in achieving the 2015 goal.”
Tida Khus, secretary of the Committee to Promote Women in Politics, said women were often criticised for trying to be elected to government.
“Women selected in their commune are often cut down for trying to play an important role in society,” she said.
Yem Ponharith, from the Human Rights Party, said parties needed to promote women entering politics.
“Why are there fewer women in politics? It’s because of tradition and culture,” he said.
“They are busy at home when they are married, so it is an obstacle.
“We want women to be active in politics.”
The Funcinpec, Norodom Ranariddh and Sam Rainsy parties also voiced their support for more women running for candidacy.
Although women account for 52 per cent of Cambodia’s population, only 16 per cent of the candidates in last year’s second mandate of the commune council elections were female.
Tep Nitha, secretary-general of the National Election Committee, said it was too early to tell how many women would contest the elections.
“NEC has encouraged all parties to promote women’s involvement in politics,” Tep Nitha said.