Prime Minister Hun Sen has lauded women’s contributions to the Kingdom’s socio-economic development, as the government laid out measures aimed at supporting the attainment of gender equality in its pursuit of sustainable economic growth.

The premier made the remarks in a statement to mark International Women’s Day, celebrated this year under the theme “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”.

“We chose this theme in order to emphasise the value of achieving equality … in all sectors of development,” the statement read.

“We have mobilised all relevant partners to join in the implementation of policy measures, programmes and activities that promote gender equality and the role of women in our journey towards sustainable socio-economic development.”

The approaches to gender mainstreaming were defined in the government's Rectangular Strategy Phase IV for Employment Growth, Equity and Efficiency in Building common ground towards achieving Cambodia’s vision by 2030.

Hun Sen noted that the strategy’s approaches align with those of the National Strategic Development Plan 2019-2023. “It also dovetails with our sustainable development goal of not leaving anyone behind, and adheres to general government policy frameworks,” he said.

He added that key measures towards achieving these goals include “building a strong social safety net and socio-economic base for the future”.

The government will also work to increase the inclusivity of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the digital economy, as well as promote the role of women in green economic activities, he said.

The prime minister stressed the importance of dispelling gender stereotypes in order to realise the full potential of women to contribute to the economy.

“It is crucial that we work together to challenge negative perceptions, and adopt positive views and attitudes that recognise the key role of women in driving sustainable socio-economic development – both of families and society as a whole,” he said.

Hun Sen also called on leaders of ministries, institutions and authorities across the Kingdom, as well as the general public, to support government policies that strengthen gender equality.

Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk also issued a statement in support of the women’s day theme in which she emphasised that women and men are equal partners. She reminded the public of the positive impact that gender equality would have on the nation’s development.

“We are currently in the process of addressing post-Covid-19 socio-economic recovery. Focusing on promoting gender equality is a priority – and more necessary than ever – to ensure that women and girls are equal in all respects [to men],” she said.

Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine praised female medical staff across Cambodia, noting that they had been working tirelessly on the frontline in the fight against Covid-19 – both through treating patients and ensuring the success of the Kingdom’s vaccination programme. She referred to them as an “army clothed in white”.

“In the era of the pandemic, female medical staff and other professionals have played a fearless role in providing health education, prevention, care and treatment of Covid-19 and other diseases,” she said.

Vandine added that women would “accomplish even more” once gender equality was achieved.