… Please allow me to elaborate a bit out of the prepared speech. Just now Lok Chumteav Minister of Women and Veteran Affairs has expressed her thanks to men and on behalf of all the men here I wish to reciprocate in kind, including my dear wife. She is looking at the sentence written above: “Men saving women is like saving own selves” – by Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen. Women and Men is an issue that one could not separate at all. We are all in a situation of interdependence between men and women.
… I wish to offer my appreciation for the efforts made by HE Ministers, Secretaries of States as well as Under-State Secretaries in their work. In this new term of Government I have noticed a strong leadership of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. I welcome their efforts and their strivings to demand inclusion of gender principles in good governance matter.
… May I give a recommendation on how to challenge with men in work. I have agreed already that the Ministry of Women’s Affairs conducts discussions with related Ministries so that their agendas and objectives could be included in those ministries’ five-year plan. I have approved in principle. What remains to be done is that each ministry takes actual step in incorporating the demands by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Take for example, the constitution stipulates that the Cambodian children and citizens have to complete a nine-year education. So we have to invest in education. Of course we have activities in parallel to prevent household violence, trafficking of women and children.
… Based on what is stipulated in the constitution, the Ministry of Education, and their provincial system has to work with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs in drafting out a geography of education. We used to say about inequality between women and men, boys and girls. In most of my speeches in the last year, I have suggested that parents pay attention to their daughters because they would do for their sons. In fact the girl, especially if she is the eldest, would do a lot of work to assist the family, which ranges from kitchen stuff to taking care of younger ones. So it most likely that she is to drop school to help work at home and it is true that her brothers would go to school. This is the reality in our family life. This happens mostly in rural areas.
… Why do I talk about geography for education? Because if the girl students finished their 06-year study in the primary education, and if the junior high school is far away from residence, it is very likely that their parents would bar them from continuing their studies. Therefore the rate of school dropout after completion of primary education is high. So it is seen as a solution to bring the junior secondary education closer to the community. This would in anyway respond to what has been stipulated in the constitution. This should help bring down the number of school dropout among the girls.
… Looking at the gap between the number of girls knowing how to read and write and those of boys, I am still keeping my thought of building a hostel for girl students in post higher education and higher education so that their number could be increased in the tertiary education. As of now we have some women in the Senate, the National Assembly and the Royal Government. So help me to plan a strategy that would solve this problem because as long as our women are illiterate, the infringement of their rights is there.
… In the communal election, 900 out of 12,000 women candidates have been voted in the commune councils. These 900 women are a commencing figure. They would have higher percentage if their names are moved upwards on the list. I hope that in the next election they move women candidate upward in the list. Anyhow this number of women in the commune councils is a great success and it clearly indicates the efforts pooled by women in the state institutions as well as in the civil society. We must nurture this path.
… The Royal Government considers investment in health helpful in reducing the mortal rate of women and children. So HE Minister of Women Affairs should sound out whatever sector you wish to have collaboration I will offer my support in the move to incorporate gender concepts in those demanded institutions. Like in the process of making women heads of the water use groups, it is the best decision. Women know the problem better than men. Take for instance in the boat race season, men are out boating while women are staying home and doing double duties. So care and consideration should be taken in offering women leading roles to any communities to be set up at the local level. Already implemented were community of water use and management, village development, fishing, etc. I would see that women are more capable in rural credit in the future.