As the world celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8, Prime Minister Hun Sen highlighted the important role of women in the fight against Covid-19.
In an open letter marking its 110th anniversary under the theme “Women and Development in the Covid-19 Context”, Hun Sen said the government had made great efforts in promoting the advancement of women since the country was liberated from the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime on January 7, 1979.
“The theme of women and development in the Covid-19 context is a very meaningful and important one ... Women are an important part of the response to the socio-economic challenges posed by the Covid-19 epidemic.
“This also highlights women’s active participation in development at all levels, sectors and circumstances, in line with the government’s Rectangular Strategy Phase IV, where women are the backbone of the national economy and society,” he said.
This year the government did not organise an International Women’s Day event to avoid gathering as part of preventive measures recommended by the World Health Organisation and Ministry of Health. Some civil society organisations celebrated the event either virtually or through small gatherings to comply with the Covid-19 measues.
Or Vandine, spokeswoman for the health ministry, highlighted the heroism of women in their role in the fight against Covid-19.
She said women have been playing an important role by taking responsibility for preventing the spread of this contagious disease by protecting themselves, their families and communities.
“In the fight against Covid-19 . . . women do their best to guide and manage their family members well.
The best and most important thing is to guide one’s husband, children and family members in how to implement the three dos and three don’ts, which are highly effective measures,” she said.
In his letter, Hun Sen said the government has always made efforts to increase the proportion of women in public institutions so that they would be more involved in leadership and decision-making at both the national and sub-national levels. By way of example, he cited the fact that the number of women in the legislature had significantly increased with each new mandate.
In the executive branch, he said there had also been an increase in the number of women serving as deputy prime ministers, ministers, secretaries and undersecretaries of state.
In the civil service sector, the number of female civil servants increased from 32 per cent in 2007 to 41 per cent in 2020. The proportion of female civil servants in decision-making positions increased to 24 per cent in 2019.
At the sub-national level, there are two female provincial governors, six town-district chiefs while female commune chiefs rose from 42 in 2002 to 130 in 2017.
Since its inception in 2006, there have been 387 women among the 7,040 Cambodians assigned to UN peacekeeping missions.