Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol suggested that the ministry leadership study the possibility of appointing women as deputy heads of departments throughout the country in order to further promote gender equality.

The request came on March 7 as the ministry celebrated the 111th anniversary of International Women’s Day – which falls on March 8 – under the theme of “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”.

Chanthol said women played an important role in society and families. Hence, the ministry should express its gratitude to all women and pursue a strategy of promoting more women into roles that would use their strengths to help participate in building the nation.

“We believe that women are capable of doing any job as long as we have the will and demonstrate confidence in them,” he said.

He suggested that the Techo Sen Institute of Public Works and Transport initiate a programme to train women as leaders – as well as in IT and digital programmes – to make them stronger candidates.

He also asked Min Manavy, who is the ministry’s secretary of state and head of its women’s association – along with leaders of the ministry – to study the possibility of appointing women as deputy heads of departments of public works throughout the country.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen has always strived to appoint women deputy governors, so the ministry should appoint women as deputy heads. Women have long played a role in the construction of roads and infrastructure,” he said.

Chanthol also encouraged women to study and build their qualifications so that they would become eligible for higher positions in the civil service and, in the future, head of municipal or provincial public works department.

He said women play an important role at the ministry. In 2016, they made up 19 per cent of the ministry’s workforce. This number had grown to 48 per cent this year. This reflected the government’s commitment to equality for women, he said.

Manavy said the value of women had been upheld through the establishment of specific programmes and the regular appointment of capable women – from village to provincial levels.

“There are many women civil servants who have reached retirement age. I request that the minister examine the prime minister’s recommendation that all ministries and institutions look to raise salaries and promote more women,” she said.

San Arun, deputy head of the NGO Cambodian Women’s Association for Peace and Development, said the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day placed an emphasis on the value of achieving gender equality between women and men for improved development in all facets of society.

“The Covid-19 crisis has had a stronger negative impact on women than men in the economic and social sectors because more women have jobs in the service sector and informal economy,” she said.