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Queen Demands Better Status For Women

Queen Norodom Monineath Sihanouk Tuesday highlighted the significance of women in Cambodia and demanded the status of women in economic, social and political circles be improved.

The queen made her comments during opening ceremon­ies of a three-day women’s affairs conference at Hotel Le Royal. The conference, “Looking Back, Moving Forward,” is meant to allow women leaders to ex­change ideas and make re­com­mendations to the government.

“Women are a very important driving force” who help contri­bute to the development of the nation in all areas, Queen Moni­neath told more than 200 women leaders, government officials and diplomats. National Assembly President Prince Norodom Rana­r­iddh also was present.

Mu Sochua, Minister of Wo­men’s and Veterans’ Affairs, said although equality for women has improved, there are few wo­men in decision-making roles. There is one female minister in the government, eight female senators and 12 female members of parliament, according to Oung Chanthol, director of the Cambo­d­ia Women’s Crisis Center.

To improve the status of wo­men in society, she said, “We have to have a serious political will and sustain it forever, so we could solve the problems.”

Other concerns include violence against wo­men, sex trafficking and pov­erty, she said.

More than 50 percent of the estimated 10 million Cambodians are women. About 30 percent of Cambodian women are widows, thus the main bread­winner in the family, Mu Sochua said. Mu Sochua complained that her ministry has a small budget, but she hopes more funds will be allocated. She estimated the five-year plan would cost more than $10 million.

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