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Multiparty political forum tackles gender inequality

Women attend a panel on women in the workforce at the Sunway Hotel in Phnom Penh
Women attend a panel on women in the workforce at the Sunway Hotel in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

Multiparty political forum tackles gender inequality

Political parties seeking National Assembly seats in the election later this month expounded on their strong commitment to promoting and protecting the rights of women and children at a roundtable discussion yesterday.

Representatives of seven of the eight parties competing for seats – excluding the Khmer Economic Development Party – discussed matters pertinent to women and children like rape and violence.

The discussion was organised by the Committee for Free and Fairs Election in Cambodia, the Cambodian Center for Human Rights and UN Women.

Funcipec representative Prak Chantha vowed not only to enforce current legal protections for women but to establish a quota of 30 per cent female representation at the national and local levels.

On a similar note, Khmer Anti-Poverty Party president Daran Kravanh said women should represent half of all workers, especially in traditionally male-dominated fields.

“It is something that we need to reform,” Kravanh said at the forum. “The party policy is to encourage women to work in the fields like men, 50 per cent.”

Speaking for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, Chou Bun Eng, Secretary of State at Ministry of Interior, said the CPP has worked hard to promote equal opportunities for women. She posed that the CPP’s commitment to equality can be seen in their equal intolerance of law breakers.

“The CPP never tolerates anyone who has committed an offence,” Bun Eng said. “Even if they are the government officials.”

Yang Phaneth, a Prey Veng province candidate for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, said that while women outnumber men in the population, their representation in the National Assembly does not reflect that fact.

“Women and children are more vulnerable, but there is no representative to help them,” Phaneth said.

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