Three political parties pledged to empower women in Cambodia to take part in politics and to improve social development during the fifth roundtable discussion organised by Khmer Times.
Mam Sonando, president of the Beehive Social Democratic Party, said empowering women in social activities was one of his party’s principles, noting that more women than men worked for his party.
“Most men keep their wives at home and do not allow them to do anything outside because they believe it is Cambodian culture,” he said. “Some men who have smart wives will tend to block her out and make her look stupid. We need to be aware of that.”
Mr Sonando said he believed women were intelligent and valuable, but their capacity was being restricted by men.
Funcinpec representative Phan Sithy said only 25 percent of his party members were women, but most of them were standing for high positions and were encouraged to express opinions and get involved.
“Funcipec values men and women equally,” he said. “In our society, the law offers equal gender rights. As a result, the number of boys and girls who go to school are equal.”
“A husband and wife should be tolerant of each other to empower women,” he added.
Mr Sithy promised that his party would work to keep girls in school and encourage women to stay in Cambodia rather than seek migrant work abroad.
Khmer Republican Party representative On Monirith said men played an important role to empower women.
“Our main policy is to find ways to avoid using violence and alcohol because we believe drinking alcohol leads to arguments and violence,” he said. “So, if we win the election, we would advocate for youth not to drink.”
Moving to the second topic for discussion, the Funcinpec representative lashed out at the government, saying social development was hampered by its inability to solve land disputes.
“This is a big issue that Funcipec would re-check and offer solutions for,” he said. “If Funcipec is elected, the issue would not exist, I promise.”
Mr Sonando said his party aimed to improve the livelihood of the poor, upgrade irrigation systems and support senior and disabled citizens.
“They each will receive 60 thousand riel per month if my party is elected for the next term,” he said. “I am determined to make changes for development. I will start making changes for people on the poverty line.”
The Khmer Republican Party representative said social development was about putting people at the centre of development.