By APCNews Phnom Penh, 27 March 2011
An unprecedented achievement for the study and prevention of further violence against women in Cambodia was announced last month with the opening of a Women and Gender Studies Centre in the capital city Phnom Penh.
APC member Open Institute, a non-profit and non-government organisation in Cambodia, launched both the Centre as well as a women’s rights guide book in December as part of APC’s campaign: Take Back the Tech! to end violence against women. Take Back the Tech!, which advocates the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to stop gender-based violence, is one of APC’s initiatives to achieve the third Millenium Development Goal on equality for women.
Women and Gender Studies Centre the first of its kind in Cambodia
The Women and Gender Studies Centre (formerly known as the Gender Issues Observatory Centre) was created to be a hub for study and analysis on gender issues in Cambodia. The Centre was initiated by the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs, which authorised the Open Institute to run it.
“The work that we’ve been doing with the Open Institute relates to finding the interconnection of violence against women with ICTs,” said APC women’s programme staff member Lalaine P. Viado in her speech at the Centre’s opening ceremony. “With ICTs, women have certainly expanded their avenues and opportunities in many social, economic and political fields…However, ICTs have also brought disadvantages as a result of use, misuse and abuse. Violence has gone digital and has also been targeting largely women. Seeing this intersection of violence against women with ICTs is an ongoing task and a challenge because it is a new arena being tackled.”
News of the Centre and the partnership between the government of Cambodia and Open Institute was announced last May in Phnom Penh at a workshop to implement a national plan to prevent violence against women. At the close of the workshop, the Minister of Women’s Affairs Dr. Ing Kanthaphavi said Cambodia needed such a Centre as it would study the challenges that Cambodian women face to prevent further violence.
Women’s rights guide book supports activists and survivors of violence
The Women’s Guide Book (a collaborative work by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Open Institute, and the international organization Peace and Development) was created for activists, policy-makers, survivors of violence and those interested in women’s rights. It outlines the legislation that can be used to support women’s rights as well as clear explanations of those laws.
The guide book also includes information about non-government organisations working on gender issues in Cambodia and the services they provide to women, as well news articles and recent studies on women’s issues. The handbook will be updated yearly.
Photo by Xiangxi. Used with permission under Creative Commons licensing.