Cambodia Promotes Gender Issues

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By Sok Lak
The gender equality was successful in decade, but recent research show that there are still a lot of issues which is the barrier in promoting gender equality. Those issues will take to disuses on the third National Conference for Women in Cambodia, which will take place in Phnom Penh on May 1st 2011.
The conference offers an opportunity for NGOs, government and civil society to identify challenges, gaps and areas of progress regarding gender issues in Cambodia.
Ros Sopheap, Executive Director of Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC) said that a lot of issues in promote gender quality in Cambodia have to solve such as ensure women and girls to receive secondary and post secondary education, eliminate domestic violence and rape, and building a comfortable environment for women and girl to meet law, society and health service with promoting participation of women in making decision and involve in politics.
She added that set up and reinforce network between Non-organization, government and private sector is a potential of linking benefit to women.  
Mia Jordanwood, researcher of GADC said that in order to prepare for the third national conference, over 150 practitioners come from over the country contributed their knowledge and experience, which assesses the current position of women in term of the economy, education, health, polities and violence against women.
She added that there are seven gender issues in Cambodia. They are attitudes toward women, gender and economy, gender and education, gender and domestic violence, gender and rape, gender and health, gender and politics.
According to research, women in Cambodia have been traditionally ascribed a lower status in Cambodia culture and societal attitude are influence by Chbap Srey, the traditional code of conduct for women, which encourages women to walk softly, remain close to home, and keep their opinions to themselves. Only 2% of women receive tertiary education.
Research found out that 75% of women in Cambodia is over 15 age, which make up 49% of the labor force. Agriculture is the main source of employment for women, women also represent the majority of employees in the garment industry, but women are paid on average 30% less than men.
According to the initial results of the 2010 Cambodia Demographic Health Survey (CDHS), 49 percent of girls attend primary school and 35 percent of girls attend secondary school. However, the gross enrollment rate at university level is only 4% for men and 2% for women.
Source from 2010 CDHS show that the numbers of women receiving antenatal care have increased from 69% in 2005 to 89% in 2010, the number of women whose delivery was assisted by a skilled provider went from 44% in 2005 to 71% in 2010, the number of women who deliver in a health facility increased from 22% in 2005 to 54% in 2010.
In politic status, women hold a small percentage of seats in the parliament and senate, also very few women in the judiciary and under represented at district level and on commune councils. However, 23 out of 25 Ministries have Gender Mainstreaming Action Plans (GMAP).
The first national conference was held in 1999 under the theme of “Looking Back: Moving Forward” and the second national conference was held in 2002 under the theme of “Gender and Development in Cambodia: Looking back, looking to the future”.
Source: The Southeast Asia Weekly, April 10-16/Vol5, Issue 15, Page 6

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