Prime Minister Hun Sen said yesterday that more women needed to be promoted to secretaries and undersecretaries of state at each ministry and then be appointed to higher posts after the national election in July.
Speaking at an International Women’s Day celebration on Koh Pich, Mr Hun Sen said he wanted more women in leadership roles within the government and was urging women to take up the challenge.
“I hope that next year the number of secretaries and undersecretaries of states will increase,” he said. “As the CPP candidate for premier, this is what I want to see.”
All secretaries of state will be appointed by royal decree and will not need ratification from the National Assembly following July’s election, he added.
Mr Hun Sen asked all ministries to look for qualified women to fill the positions.
Mr Hun Sen said that since the 2013 national election, 91 women have joined politics, holding positions that include deputy prime minister, senior minister, minister, secretary of state and undersecretary of state.
According to a report from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, women now represent nearly 50 percent of all civil servants.
There are a total of 214,010 civil servants at all ministries, and 41 percent of them are women, the report said.
Mr Hun Sen said he also wanted to see more women appointed as directors of departments or general directors at various ministries.
“Have we appointed women to take these higher posts?” Mr Hun Sen asked. “If not, we cannot judge women by saying that they lack decision-making skills.”
Ros Sopheap, executive director of Gender and Development for Cambodia, hailed the premier’s initiative, saying that the government should make sure women are empowered.
Ms Sopheap said that women still face many challenges, including workplace discrimination after their appointments to higher positions.
“We should change the behaviour of men that work with these women,” she said. “We must prevent any discrimination and support women.”