Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk issued a letter marking the 112th International Women’s Day on March 8, observed this year under the theme “Women together for peace and development in the digital age”.

“Peace is vital to allowing people to live in harmony, without discrimination and enjoy a full right to freely practise their religion and traditions with wide and equal social protection,” wrote the Queen Mother.

“Thanks to peace and development, I have noted that Cambodian women are a driving force that contribute to economic growth. The women of today have the opportunity to exercise their rights, develop knowledge, skills and techniques that are the foundation of participating in national and regional markets.”

The queen mother added that the situation, status and roles of Cambodian women have been promoted through good governance, social protections, the post-Covid economic recovery and affairs on the international stage.

She said that women’s participation at all levels ensures that all people have the right and the opportunity to be elected as representatives and participate in developing the national economy and society in a manner that is sustainable and inclusive.

“The continuation of preserving peace remains the first priority and is precious for every Cambodian citizen,” she said. “Cambodia does maintain peace, political stability, democracy and has attained new and proud achievements, although we have faced many challenges, especially Covid-19 and the Russian-Ukraine conflict.”

The Queen Mother commended and supported three national institutions – the Ministry of Women’s Affairs; National Committee for Promotion of Social Morality, Women and Khmer Families Values; and the Cambodia National Council for Women – for performing a great service to women to secure the protection of their rights and benefits as well as maintaining their values and dignity.

“I would like to call on and encourage the government and relevant partners to continue to carry out this work and continue to pay attention to it as well as offer the opportunity to women and girls to participate and benefit in the digital age for the prosperity and happiness of our compatriots,” she stated.

Prime Minister Hun Sen on March 7 also presided over an event celebrating International Women’s Day and announced his support for the theme, which he said is meaningful and important in the current context.

He said it is necessary for Cambodia to maintain peace and political stability as the necessary preconditions and the solid foundation for developing the nation in all sectors and to ensure people’s harmonious welfare and living.

The premier said the government will pay closer attention to promoting gender equality and increase women’s confidence as it considers them to be the backbone of society and the national economy.

“We have to ensure that strengthening gender equality remains a priority task because it is necessary for women and girls in all contexts to achieve full and equal opportunity in all aspects of the political, economic and social spheres and exercise equal rights as an indispensable partner with men in the development of the nation,” he said.

He called for the prevention of violence in all forms against women and girls through the implementation of action plans and to expand the scope and quality of services to rescue victims of domestic violence and provide them with free legal services and strengthen the implementation of laws and relevant prakas.

“According to a report, violence against women is down, but some serious cases have also happened such as shooting and killing wives, and other serious forms of violence. Hence, we should end the violence by conducting the same actions with men and women,” Hun Sen added.

Minister of Women’s Affairs Ing Kantha Phavi said at the event that some women still faced violence and it economically burdened families and the society.

“The family and the state have to spend on health services or we lose productivity. We must have a safe shelter for women victims and their children, social and legal services and other services to help them. In this sense, ending all forms of violence against women remains a main task in developing human capital and harmony in family and society as a whole,” she said.