H.E. Mu Sochua

Ministry for Women’s and Veterans’ Affairs

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Gender disparities exists in all sectors of development. Gender gaps are widespread in access to and control Of resources, in economic opportunities, in power and political voice. Women, girls and the female youth bear the largest and most direct costs of these inequalities.

Addressing equity issues relating to women’s and children’s rights is crucial to good governance and to sustainable social and economic development, to social justice and to alleviating poverty. Indeed, improving the situation of women and children is central to the Royal Cambodian Government’s strategy to alleviate poverty. Neary Rattenack: Women are Precious Gems is our five-year strategy and action plan to achieve our vision.

Too often the role of women is relegated to the realm of welfare and to reproductive services. While policies and services in these areas are vital, limiting women to the domestic sphere is to deny their current and their essential roles in the productive sphere -as farmers, entrepreneurs and decision-makers. The goals of poverty alleviation cannot be achieved without attention to women’s current and potential roles in the productive sphere. Furthermore, the increase of gender-based violence is another factor which calls for our attention in the protection and rights of women, the girl child and female youth.

Gender equality and equity can be achieved through gender mainstreaming with clear strategies for implementation, monitoring and evaluation. The Royal Government of Cambodia, through the Ministry of Women and Veterans’ Affairs is in the process of testing its gender mainstreaming strategies which aim at:

  • Identifying implicit and explicit gender issues
  • Identifying the corresponding resource allocations
  • Setting gender indicators for monitoring and evaluation

The MWVA is actively participating in the Poverty Reduction Partnership Agreement and the Poverty Reduction Strategy process.

To further enhance the participation of women, in cooperation with other ministries, the MOWVA will be conducting a series of community-based meetings to bring their voices into the process of the PRPA and the PRSP.

Our dialogues with other ministries is facilitated by the presence and the input of the gender focal points which we have established in 12 line ministries with technical support from the UNDP and the Royal Embassy of the Netherlands and the UNFPA.

Priority areas for our ministry are two-fold. They are building capacity, not only in MOWVA but in all ministries, in order to successfully mainstream gender; and creating mechanisms between MOWVA and all levels of government, including commune councils, to ensure gender is mainstreamed in all government policies and programs. The Ministry is concerned that all line ministries should explicitly budget for resources to mainstream gender, that is, to ensure that the current different situations between women and men, and the differential outcomes of policies and programs, are addressed.

The Ministry is also very concerned that targets and indicators should take account of the differences in the current situation of men and women, boys and girls, arid their differential access to resources and services. Unless this situation is explicitly acknowledged, the outcomes will not produce gender equity, consequently they will not successfully address poverty. It is essential therefore, that all Sets of data are gender disaggregated to establish reasonable and achievable benchmarks, and targets and indicators.

Finally, the MOWVA strongly suggests a mechanism for analysing budgets from a gender perspective which will specifically look into the following points:

      1.   monitoring expenditures by government departments and authorities to women and men in the community;

      2.   equal opportunity programmes;

      3.   general expenditures which make goods and services available to the community.

The MOWVA will strengthen donor coordination to better communicate and cooperate with donors on the implementation of the government’s strategies to mainstream gender and on gender specific issues and programmes.

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