Together with our partner organizations, our office in Phnom Penh is working to change gender roles in Cambodia in a critical dialog with the government, political parties and investors.
Behind the massive economic growth at the expense of the environment, the political development of Cambodia lags behind. This is particularly clear in the case of women, who are still suffering from traditional role models. Many girls leave school earlier than boys, women are more represented in the lower income bracket, and they play the role of submissive wife according to Cambodia's conservative code of values. They are victims of domestic violence, and women are also disproportionately affected by land grabbing and impoverishment in the controversial land distribution. The commitment of the ruling party for women's advancement, which has been in power since 1993, is merely lip service, because it is above all the old men's cliques who pull the strings.
But the development of Cambodia should not be pushed on the back of half of society. Together with our partner organizations, the office is working on changing the gender roles in Cambodian society. The foundation places special emphasis on young people and indigenous groups. The indigenous population in particular lives in the subsistence sector and is threatened to a considerable degree by the depletion of natural resources. In the area of resource governance, hbs has repeatedly worked in the past on continuing land transfers, the massive deforestation of the rainforest, and the protection of indigenous communities.