Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Few women in upper ranks of Cambodia's military

Few women in upper ranks of Cambodia's military

Minister of Defence Tea Banh (centre) and Minister of Women’s Affairs Ing Kantha Phavi (right) attend an event for women in the military where Banh called for more promotions for women yesterday. Fresh News
Minister of Defence Tea Banh (centre) and Minister of Women’s Affairs Ing Kantha Phavi (right) attend an event for women in the military where Banh called for more promotions for women yesterday. Fresh News

Few women in upper ranks of Cambodia's military

Cambodian women make up less than 3 percent of the military’s upper echelons, the ministries of defence and women’s affairs confirmed yesterday.

Just 88 women hold ranks of one-star general and above, with one solitary woman ranked a four-star general and a deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. There are an estimated 3,000 generals, at least, in Cambodia’s top-heavy military, meaning women make up just 2.9 percent of RCAF’s upper ranks at best.

The Ministry of Women’s Affairs said there were seven female lieutenant generals, 19 major generals and 61 brigadier generals.

At an event leading up to International Women’s Day on March 8, Defence Minister Tea Banh urged the military to promote women to higher ranks, describing them as “the backbone of economy and society” and as “an indispensable power” in developing the country.

But he also told military women to uphold the “traditional value” of Khmer women. “Female soldiers must continue to maintain the tradition and dignity of Cambodian women in order to improve the social morality, women’s value and the Khmer family forever,” he said.

Gender and Development for Cambodia Executive Director Ros Sopheap said such language normally translated to women staying at home, not “making noise”, raising children and taking care of their husbands – apparently at odds with commanding roles in the military.

“The military is opposite to that culture,” Sopheap said, adding that women needed to be given equal opportunities in education and training to secure military positions.

Defence Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat said there were a total of 6,500 women in the defence forces, but maintained he did not know the total number of troops or percentage of women.

“We still need to promote them. We need women in the military,” Socheat said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia resumes issuance of tourist visas

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced the resumption of its tourist visa and visa exemption programme after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter dated October 20 and addressed to foreign embassies and consulates, foreign minister Prak Sokhonn

  • S’ville set to turn into ‘second Shenzhen’

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has awarded a master plan consultancy contract to top Chinese institute for the development and transformation of Preah Sihanouk province into a “Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone”, Southeast Asia’s next logistics and resort hub and innovation centre. The