Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Civil groups call for clear policies on women’s rights

Civil groups call for clear policies on women’s rights

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Some 400 women from various associations, unions and civil society organisations gathered at Olympic Stadium to celebrate the International Women’s Day on March 8. Supplied

Civil groups call for clear policies on women’s rights

Some 400 youth and women from 12 civil society organisations gathered at a hotel in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district on Sunday to celebrate women’s rights, weeks after they were prevented by security forces from marching to mark International Women’s Day.

At Sunday’s gathering, the group recounted the struggles faced by Cambodian women from all walks of life, including discrimination, sexual abuse and the disregard of women’s rights in society.

Representatives from NGOs Silaka, Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC), Women’s Network for Unity (WNU), Worker’s Information Center (WIC), Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK) and the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) demanded an end to the abuses of individual rights in the form of violence.

WNU director Pech Polet told The Post on Sunday that the event provided participants a chance to share personal experiences and highlighted the plight of women from all backgrounds, including rights and land activists, sex workers, garment workers, the disabled and members of the LGBT community.

Polet said women and children continued to face physical, mental, economic and gender violence due to old-fashioned mindsets and social norms.

These, she said, posed obstacles to the development of the rights of women and their ability to make decisions for themselves.

‘Discrimination continues’

Sunday’s event aimed to engage people, especially those in government, in addressing gender issues and demanding greater respect for the rights of women and an end to all forms of violence against them.

“So far we have not seen enough positive change, while discrimination [against women] in all sectors continues to exist. So we convey a message to the public and the government, and shed light on the problems encountered by women, problems that need to be resolved immediately,” she said.

Srey Tim, one of the women who attended the event, said she had encountered a lot of problems working in the entertainment sector.

At the karaoke parlour where she currently works, she said she had faced insults, discrimination and sexual abuse.

Tim appealed for an end to discrimination against women, in all its forms.

“Working at a karaoke parlour is not bad, but [women there] are subject to insults, disdain and sexual harassment, leading to needless pain and suffering,” she said.

While calling on people and the government to join them in the fight against abuse, violence and discrimination in all forms, the participants vowed to work in solidarity towards the changing of societal attitudes.

To that end, they said, the government needed to formulate clear policies aimed at equality and better living conditions for all women.

Ouk Vuthy, another participant, shared the women’s concerns. He urged the government to address the issue through clear policies and the public to prevent discrimination through a change of mindset.

“For now, I can only express my support. I want the government to see the hardships women face and formulate policies to help them. From what I’ve noticed, the government seems to be inactive in helping women get good jobs and live with dignity,” he said.

Ministry of Women’s Affairs spokesperson Man Chenda could not be reached for comment on Monday.

But Minister of Women’s Affairs Ing Kantha Phavi acknowledged last week that violence and abuse against women persists.

She said the ministry is working to address the issue and would soon make its strategies public.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the