The ministries of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Women’s Affairs on Tuesday outlined a key message in the run-up to celebrating the 109th anniversary of International Women’s Day, “Peace Promotes Gender Equality”.
Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn said at the pre-anniversary celebration at the ministry that the theme essentially showed the indispensable significance of peace in promoting women’s rights and freedom in society. International Woman’s Day falls on March 8.
“I sincerely thank the gender working group of our ministry for organising this celebratory programme to remind us of global women’s movements that have demanded economic, social and political equality for women.
“One hundred and nine years ago, women were denied many rights and even today, some are still deprived of them in certain countries.
“Our Khmer ancestors valued women as the providers of the light of happiness for families. As the old saying goes, Seedlings save the land, women save men,” he said.
Sokhonn said presently, the promotion of gender equality was a priority in the Kingdom’s national development policy. However, he said it could not have yielded such successes if the country was at war, insecure and politically unstable.
He said in line with global trends that widely recognised the roles of women who contributed to achieving sustainable development goals, the government had also continued to implement policies to strengthen the rights and freedom of women.
The Kingdom, he said, was also committed to boosting investment in resources that make it possible for women to expand and achieve their goals in all social affairs and the development of the national economy.
“The Royal Government of Cambodia considers women to be the backbone of the national economy. Women have contributed significantly to the maintenance of peace and drive the pace of development.
“Seventy-nine per cent of adult women in Cambodia are part of the labour force and work at state institutions and private establishments,” Sokhonn said.
He also said that from 2006 until now, Cambodia had dispatched a total of 6, 556 peacekeeping forces to the UN, of which 338 were women. In the Asean region, Cambodia ranked second in committing women to the blue-helmet forces.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs secretary of state and head of the gender working group Eat Sophea said International Women’s Day served to remind us of the history of the resistance movement of women across the globe and to continue forward in their honour.
“Though the rights and the significance of women’s roles are today better recognised and promoted, women still encounter direct and indirect discrimination. This includes rights to education, inheritance, and voting, just to name a few.
“In Saudi Arabia, women only attained the right to drive vehicles in 2017,” Sophea said.
She said the Ministry of Women’s Affairs had chosen the theme to express gratitude for peace and to inspire the spirit of maintaining the peace that has brought national independence.
“Peace has allowed people to live in freedom. It has allowed democracy and socio-economic development in all sectors which resulted in the integration of Cambodia in the region and world,” she said.
Sophea added that the theme also aimed to strengthen the bravery of women across Cambodia and produce an atmosphere conducive to fostering gender equality.