King Norodom Sihamoni, along with various ministries and government institutions, will celebrate the 113th International Women’s Day on March 8, under the theme “Women and Girls in the Digital Environment”.

The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, the Ministry of Inspection, as well as labour unions and NGOs, will join in the celebration to promote women’s labour rights.

Culture minister Phoeurng Sackona stated on March 1 that the event would serve as a reminder and an encouragement for people to contemplate more on women’s issues and to address these challenges more effectively.

“This year’s theme, in line with the increasing use of technology in social, economic and political life, highlights goals and concerns regarding the situation of women, who need to keep pace with the latest developments,” she added.

Sackona pointed out that women, by nature, are considered physically weaker than men and face greater pressure to meet societal norms. She said these factors contribute to various problems such as infringement on women’s rights and freedom, gender discrimination, labour inequality, violence, sex trafficking, exploitation and social injustice.

“Please continue to recognise the capabilities of women and propose appointing them to vacant positions. In cases of similar qualifications, priority should be given to female candidates for recruitment as civil servants or contract officials,” Sackona urged. 

“We must also pay attention to women officials approaching retirement, promoting them in accordance with their seniority,” she added.

Tourism minister Sok Soken stated that his ministry is committed to supporting and promoting gender equality and empowering women. 

He said this commitment includes offering women opportunities to fully participate in exercising their rights and obligations and to benefit from equitable and equal tourism development.

“We are focused on promoting gender equality, particularly for women working in this vital green sector. We have introduced a strategic plan to enhance gender representation in tourism and various developmental programmes,” he explained.

Inspection minister Huot Hak emphasised that his ministry’s primary goal is to encourage the participation of women and girls in decision-making at all levels, in politics and public life, especially in promoting gender equality within the inspection sector.

Labour minister Heng Sour noted that this year’s theme is in line with the development of the national society and the government’s digital strategic plan. He said the ministry aims to encourage women and girls to engage with technology to realise its benefits.

“Women have played a crucial role in sustaining the economies and social development that have contributed to Cambodia’s prosperity. Moreover, Cambodia has ensured legal and equal rights for women. There is no discrimination against women in terms of employment, be it overtime or during regular working hours,” he added.

Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk issued a message concerning the forthcoming holiday in support of the women’s ministry and relevant entities that have been striving to fulfil their responsibilities towards women and girls.

“I would like to call upon and encourage the government and the concerned institutions to continue focusing on the tasks of building and developing the capabilities of women for the prosperity and happiness of our compatriots,” her message read.

The Queen Mother noted that for Cambodia, digital transformation is essential to capitalise on the advancement of telecommunications and information technology to enhance productivity, competitiveness and economic efficiency.

She stated that these technologies have driven national economic growth and have been instrumental in developing a modern society with citizens who are highly knowledgeable and skilled, and can therefore fully benefit from the use of online services while maintaining their national identity and culture.

Twenty institutions, working to promote gender equality and women’s rights, will observe the day under the theme: “Guaranteeing rights and freedom of women and girls for economic stability and social justice”.

“The celebration … is aimed at strengthening solidarity among civil society organisations [CSOs], associations, trade unions and workers and in cooperation with the relevant ministries, institutions and development partners, in ensuring the rights and freedom of women,” they stated.

The organisations are launching campaigns on social media platforms from early March, updating their social media profiles and making posts related to priority needs and solutions for guaranteeing gender equality.