The Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the UK embassy in Phnom Penh have agreed to work together on women’s empowerment, women’s education and ending violence against women and girls.

The agreement was reached during an April 11 meeting between minister Ing Kantha Phavi and UK ambassador Dominic Williams.

“Phavi shared with [Williams] the ministry’s significant progress in promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls, in line with the government’s strategic plans and policy and the ministry’s 5th strategic plan for women empowerment in six key areas,” said the ministry in a social media post.

The six areas include promoting education, especially STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) for women and girls; healthcare considerations for women and girls; legal protection for women and girls; promoting women’s leadership at the national and sub-national levels, including in the private sector; women and climate change; and increasing women’s economic empowerment.

According to the post, Williams praised the ministry for “achieving excellent outcomes” on the promotion of gender equality. The envoy also presented the UK’s first international women and girls’ strategy 2023-2030, which was launched by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

He explained that the strategy focuses on three key projects which include education, empowerment, and the cessation of violence against women and girls.

The embassy said in an April 12 social media post that the UK supports the rights of women and girls and is highly committed to promoting gender equality. The FCDO recently launched the strategy to achieve this vision and commitment.

“In an April 11 meeting, [Kantha Phavi] and ambassador Williams spoke about the work and discussed other activities that the embassy could contribute to, especially those led by the women’s ministry,” it said.

According to the ministry, women now make up 51 per cent of Cambodia’s population.

“As such, developing women’s capacity, especially in leadership, is a priority in response to the ministry’s strategy on women empowerment and the national strategic development plan to contribute to achieving the vision of 2050, which will turn Cambodia into a high-income country,” it said.

The ministry’s Mekong-Lanchang Cooperation (MLC) project team is conducting a training course on “Strengthening women’s economic empowerment in the digital age” from April 11-13. The course aims to expand economic opportunities for women in rural areas through digital technology. It also educates them on how to write pilot project proposal for the LMC member countries including Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand.