Celebration of International Womens Day

March 1, 2013: Over 250 students, faculty, and staff members attended the International Women’s Day ceremony hosted at the University of Cambodia (UC) in collaboration with the People Health Development (PHD) and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

Mr. Ou Ratanak, Executive Director of PHD, noted in his opening speech that we celebrate International Women’s Day this year according to Article 31 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia, with the focus on equal rights, equal opportunities to accelerate progress with the support of the Cambodian people, public institutions, private sectors, civil organizations and other partners to speed up development towards the Cambodian Millennium Development Goals as well as the Royal Government of Cambodia’s, so-called Neary Ratanak III five-year strategic plan (2009 – 2013) to promote gender equity and to strengthen the courage of women to become active in economic development, politics and decision-making.

Mrs. Por Malis (Vice-President for Operations, University of Cambodia) observed that this is the 102nd anniversary of International Women’s Day. “Women used to work for 12 hours a day, but now only for eight hours a day and get the same salary,” but still there is the problem of violence against women, together with human trafficking and sexual exploitation by men. Thus “women also claimed for their protection and health of children care and treatment, however, women’s rights at that time were still limited due to men still acknowledged as “ pure gold” even they have already got married,” she added. Therefore, she urged to all women to exert their rights to gain their rightful position
in society.

The guest-of-honour, Her Excellency Hor Malin (Under Secretary of State for Women’s Affairs), said that the International Women’s Day is a public and fair acknowledgment of women’s rights and the valuable contributions of women to society. The Royal Government of Cambodia has been celebrating 8th of March, since 1980, as an official public holiday. As in previous years, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs has organized a number of activities around this date with various partners, including PHD, to mobilize Cambodians for women’s empowerment. This year, the Royal Government of Cambodia has selected the theme “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities to Accelerate Progress” as the umbrella for the celebrations. The aim is to boost the progress of women in order to meet the targets on gender established in national policies, particularly the Five Years Strategic Plan 2009-2013 for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (Neary Rattanak III) and the Cambodia Millennium Development Goals. In addition, the event strives to achieve greater gender equality in areas of decision-making and politics, economic empowerment, education, sexual and reproductive health as well as bringing an end to gender-based violence.

Thus, Her Excellency Hor Malin continued, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs has been actively working to eradicate gender-based violence for more than 10 years, with the support of line ministries such as the Ministries of the Interior, Justice and Social Affairs, as well as a number of international partners. To this end, she observed that the Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and the Protection of Victims and the Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation were put in place in 2005 and 2008, respectively, to tackle this problem. In addition, the New Penal Code, New Penal Procedure Code, and Protection Orders for women survivors of domestic violence are being implemented to strengthen prosecution of perpetrators and protection of women. Moreover, the Royal Government of Cambodia is developing Memorandums of Understanding with Malaysia and Thailand to fight
against human trafficking, while an amendment to the MoU with Vietnam on this serious issue has recently come into force.

Her Excellency Hor Malin concluded by listing some of the Departments, Agencies, and Ministries in which women currently have a position and by observing that the opportunity will be given to women to stand as candidates for the House of Representatives in the upcoming general election for Members of Parliament.