With the 111th anniversary of the International Women’s Day approaching, senior Cambodian officials marked the event a week ahead on March 1 with the theme Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.

Minister of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspections Men Sam An – who is also head of the Cambodian Women’s Association for Peace and Development – said this year’s theme aims to show how invaluable gender equality is.

Sam An made the remarks while joining the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports to celebrate the event at the National Institute of Education in Phnom Penh.

“This year’s theme ... is an in-depth topic which drives home the point that gender equality is an important foundation for sustainable development,” she said.

She added that it made a real contribution to the promotion of women’s participation in promoting gender equality in Cambodia and linked to women’s movements around the world.

“The theme aims to show that women and men are equal partners. It also highlights the value to all areas of development that achieving gender equality would add. I urge all parties concerned to introduce specific policy measures, programmes, campaigns and activities to promote gender equality and empower women,” she added.

March 8 serves as a reminder of women’s struggles to seek equality and equal peace, she noted.

Education minister Hang Chuon Naron said at the event that the ministry has been implementing strategic plans to mainstream gender integration into the education sector – both to reduce the gender gap in the field and to increase the participation of female staff. It would also cultivate positive attitudes in society, he added.

“We will continue to implement this strategy and will link it to the Rectangular Strategy Phase IV of the National Development Policy and the Strategic ‘Neary Rattanak IV’ plan,” he said.

He added that in the 2020-2021 academic year, the gender gap in the level of general knowledge education had been significantly reduced.

“Women and girls are more likely to have access to education, both formal and informal. It is worth noting that access to education services at the early childhood and primary levels is similar, while female students in secondary school appear to have overtaken their male counterparts,” Chuon Naron said.