Prime Minister Hun Sen addressed world leaders at the UN on Sunday, giving his formula for closing the gender gap.
Speaking at a global leaders summit on the subject at the United Nations, Hun Sen said closing the gender gap in developing countries requires a four-prong approach: increasing investment in gender equality; ensuring the protection of women’s rights; strengthening government institutions; and continuing to promote women’s involvement in the economy and their financial inclusion.
Hun Sen touted “remarkable progress” by Cambodia in promoting gender equality over the last 20 years, with the adoption of laws and regulations to protect women from discrimination and violence. Cambodia has achieved its Millennium Development Goals for decreased maternal mortality, he said, as well as promoted women in all ranks of government and in the legislative and executive branches.
On Friday, world leaders adopted a new set of development goals, to be achieved over the next 15 years, including gender promotion.
Thida Khus, executive director of Silaka, a development organization for women, has been involved in consultations over the goals. They are inclusive, she said, but not without flaws.
“What women are still concerned about is the lack of mechanisms or wording to reflect responsibility and accountability at all levels from the government to the people, and from the UN to other nations, especially from developed to poor countries,” she said. “The other concern is the funding issue.”
Cambodia has failed on key issues for women’s empowerment and discrimination, she said. “We have not achieved much on the empowerment of women in the legislative branch,” she said. “We’ve seen some increases, but not up to the targets set. There was still a lack of cooperation among government institutions to promote women. Discrimination against women still exists.”