In the lead-up to the upcoming elections, three provinces have been selected to participate in a three-year project designed to encourage women, first-time voters and the youth to actively participate in politics.
The project, spearheaded by the Women’s Media Center of Cambodia (WMC), Banteay Srei and the German media development organization DW Akademie, was launched yesterday when WMC executive director Chea Sundaneth said Cambodian women in politics faced many obstacles due to the political parties’ failure to recognize the potential of women as candidates and their ability to gain the electorate’s vote.
“WMC, Banteay Srei and DW Akademie believe that the achievement of this project will play a part to improve Cambodian women’s involvement in the political sector and youth, especially young women,” she said.
She said the three provinces chosen were Kampong Thom, Battambang and Siem Reap where the project aims to develop female candidate’s communication skills using modern media campaigns to address women and youth oriented issues.
A statement released by DW Akademie said that more than half the population in these provinces were female, but are now under-represented in Cambodia’s decision making processes.
DW Akademie’s Country Manager for Cambodia Sabina Casagrande said the project would help to bring about greater political representation and participation by women in Cambodia.
“The project will result in a stronger focus on issues relevant to women,” she said.
“Greater media visibility of female candidates and issues affecting women will also lead to greater awareness of the significance women play in civil society – as politicians, as voters and ultimately as citizens of Cambodia.”
However, Minister of Women’s Affairs Ing Kantha Phavi said that Cambodia’s female representation in politics was 20.3 percent, 2 percent above the regional average.
“We do not need a greater number of women in politics, we also want quality,” she said. “Sometimes, the increase in numbers does not mean that the women’s voices rise in policy. We want quality that they have enough ability to guide their work.”
Minister of Women’s Affairs Ing Kantha Phavi says female representation in politics is above the regional average. KT/Ban Sokrith