The 107th anniversary of International Women’s Day was celebrated throughout the country yesterday, with members of the government and civil society partaking in festivities in Phnom Penh and many provinces.
During the celebrations, Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk called for people to improve the culture of non-violence in their families and join together to maintain peace in society.
“Please, all parents try to improve and promote ethical behaviour in your families by teaching your children how to be good children, students and citizens,” she said in a letter yesterday.
She added people should stay away from drugs, alcohol and violence to protect the peace in order to live in a society with dignity, happiness and everlasting harmony.
The Queen Mother said Cambodian citizens enjoyed peace throughout the country and economic growth of about seven percent, which could be attributed to the effectiveness of the government.
“All people, especially women, have the opportunity to study and increase their knowledge and skills to work and earn more income for their family and the national economy,” she said.
Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday joined in the celebration of International Women’s Day at Koh Pich Exhibition Centre under the theme “Women together to maintain peace for national development”.
Mr Hun Sen said promoting gender equality throughout Cambodia was making a difference in women’s lives from year to year.
Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labour Confederation, said yesterday that Cambodian women still faced many obstacles, especially women in the construction, service and garment industries.
“The government has made reforms by issuing many announcements that promote and protect women’s rights, but women’s problems including those of garment workers are still concerning for us,” he said.
Lower wages, more working hours, bad working environments, unjust sentences, no labour court and other discriminatory practices made it so women do not have the same opportunities as men, according to Mr Thorn.
The victims of land disputes from different communities such as Chorm Krovean, Boeung Chhouk, Borei Keila and villagers in Koh Kong province’s Sre Ambel district also celebrated women’s day yesterday.
Theng Savoeun, general secretary of the Coalition of Cambodia Farmer Community, said that authorities in Chorm Korvean commune in Tbong Khmom province did not allow his group to join the programme for International Women’s Day.
He said community representatives had asked for permission from the commune and district halls since March 2, but commune officials refused to add them to the agenda.
“We decided to celebrate separately from authorities,” he said. “It was discrimination between the authorities and the people.”