Friday, September 10, 2010

Cambodia Mulls Affirmative Action for Women

by Irwin Loy

PHNOM PENH, Sep 10, 2010 (IPS) - Cambodian authorities must take sweeping measures to boost the number of women who sit in parliament if the country is to meet a key part of its global commitment to gender equality, advocates say.
Cambodia has pledged to ensure that at least 30 percent of legislators in its National Assembly are women by 2015. It represents part of Cambodia’s promises under the global Millennium Development Goals – targets aimed at eradicating poverty – to which United Nations member states have committed. But with only one National Assembly election remaining before the deadline – voters in this South-east Asian nation are scheduled to head to the polls in 2013 – advocates say Cambodia risks missing this crucial target if the government fails to enact extraordinary measures to boost the number of women in politics. Opposition members and civil society groups are calling on the government to legislate strict quotas that would ensure enough women are elected. But the government here is vehemently opposed to use of the term "quotas," leaving advocates to walk a delicate line.

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