Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, shared some of his insights on “Women’s Empowerment in the Digital Age” during the ASEAN Leaders’ Special Session at the 36th ASEAN Summit held via Videoconference this afternoon.
Samdech Techo Hun Sen said the theme of this meeting, “Women’s empowerment in the digital age”, is of crucial importance as digital technology is increasingly utilised in the daily lives, in particular during in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, women’s empowerment is one important element of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (SDGs 2030).
In the context of current situation, he continued, research study has indicated that COVID-19 pandemic has caused more severe impacts on women than men, both in the economic and social aspects. Particularly, women in developing countries have been severely impacted as most of them working in service sector and informal sector, thereby rendering them unable to get assistance from social protection programme which only covers workers in the formal sector.
Nevertheless, the Cambodian Premier stressed, empowering women in embracing digital technology is an opportunity, providing a new catalyst to accelerate the progress of gender equality and inclusive socio-economic development. In fact, there remains huge untapped potential for women to further contribute to economic growth.
Hence, ASEAN leaders and stakeholders, in particular private sector have to jointly work together in order to create a favorable environment enabling women to grasp these opportunities and potentials. In this regard, Samdech Techo Hun Sen said, ASEAN should continue attaching high priorities to women’s empowerment in this digital age with the focus on the following issues:
“First. Increasing the provision and access to services for women and girls in utilising ICT through: setting up facilities that women can easily and securely access ICT services, and investing as well as formulating inclusive policy aimed at providing affordable ICT services.
Second. Focusing on STEAM education that would allow women and girls to gain new knowledge related to ICT.
Third. Continuing to promote women’s participation in the economic and financial sector by providing them with essential knowledge on business developments, especially for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and the ICT sector, broadening the coverage of the social protection system, and formulating measures to empower women to contribute to national economic growth under the framework of the economic recovery plan in the post COVID-19 crisis.
Fourth. Creating an ecosystem that can respond to the needs of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Women Entrepreneurs with the focus on promoting the use digital technology, facilitating access to financial resources, training as well as capacity building in order to promote start-ups in the digital sector.
Fifth. Promoting skill development such as digital literacy and protection identity so that women can fully and securely benefits from the digital economy.
Sixth. Promoting new initiatives and best practices related to empowering women in digital technology as well as sharing and exchanging experiences among ASEAN member states.”