During the last decade, Cambodia has made a lot of progress on gender equality. From 2009 to 2018, the government passed a series of laws and measures to increase gender equality as part of its Gender Mainstream Strategic Plan and its Strategy for Gender Equity in TVET. These laws helped promote gender equality in education and vocational training. They helped women find job opportunities, and encouraged better social attitudes and favorable conditions for women’s participation in all working sectors.
To continue this undeniable progress, Cambodia must continue to work toward gender equality. Women are still underrepresented in politics and public decision making, higher education, and certain work sectors. According to a 2011 study by USAID, girls still have a higher dropout rate in every grade level except grades 9 and 12.
There is also work to be done to change people’s beliefs and assumptions. According to a major UN national survey, 62.66% of Cambodian men and 57.1% of Cambodian women think that men should have the final word in all family matters, and 82.4% of men and 92.7% of women believe that a woman’s most important role is to take care of her home and cook for her family (Partners for Prevention, 2013).
At Anjali, we are trying to do our part to support Cambodian women and girls. We want to encourage progress and help every child, no matter their gender, create a better future and find their own path. According to Simon, our executive director, “Most girls are still doing work at home, even though they generally work harder in school and are more imaginative.”
We want to encourage their determination and creativity by helping them fulfill their dreams. One way we do this is through education – last year, we ran a workshop on puberty and sexual and reproductive health. We will continue to run these workshops every year.
We also make sure that any girl who wants to attend university or vocational training is able to. This year, we supported scholarships for three young women. This number will increase in the coming years.
Our work doesn’t stop with our students. Our Active Communities program also promotes gender equality within our community through workshops run by our social worker and other partners on topics like preventing domestic violence or helping women find jobs.
Our work with girls and women is a priority for us. We do everything we can to promote and encourage gender equality. If you want to help us with this work check our website, to know how to be involved with us.