Tackling Discrimination and Advocating for Women’s Rights

DCA supports the work of our Cambodian partner in promoting women's rights and strengthening advocacy.


DCA Cambodia

The Issue

Cambodian women and girls experience extensive discrimination across various sectors, exacerbated by societal acceptance of domestic violence and gender stereotypes that hinder women’s leadership opportunities. Despite women’s significant participation in the workforce, they are burdened with most domestic responsibilities and face systemic barriers to justice and support for gender-based violence. One third of women endure intimate partner violence, and sexual harassment is rampant, especially among garment workers, yet comprehensive protective laws are lacking.

The government’s resistance to implementing quotas and delaying critical legal revisions further impede gender equality. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these issues, increasing job losses, susceptibility to trafficking, and human rights violations against women activists.

Our partner in the project, the Cambodian NGO Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (NGO-CEDAW) emphasizes the need for stronger government actions and compliance with international obligations to promote gender equality. Advocacy from civil society, supported by UN bodies and international partners, is essential to address and rectify these pervasive issues.

The Project

To tackle women’s rights violations in Cambodia, our partner, NGO-CEDAW, will enhance civil society’s ability to document and share instances of abuse and discrimination. The organization will continue coordinating coalition members to gather evidence for reporting to UN processes. It will advocate for the use and application of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) through national and international lobbying, supporting the development and amendment of relevant laws and policies. NGO-CEDAW will coordinate a network of gender advocates and sponsor key civil society members to attend significant international advocacy events. Additionally, the project will strengthen the capacity of civil society organization members and the general population through capacity-building activities, training, and annual reflections to promote gender equality and eliminate discrimination against women.

“Gender Expression Portraits” by independent photographer Meth Monthary displayed at Dignity Cambodia art exhibition. The photographs depict the stigmatized and oppressive experience of cis-gender women and men, especially the LGBTIQ+ community regarding their gender expression.

The Change

This project aims to advocate for gender equality in Cambodia and ensure government accountability for the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) by 2025. It will enhance civil society organizations’ ability to document and share women’s rights violations, improving national and international awareness and advocacy.

Through targeted lobbying, the project will promote CEDAW’s application, pushing for policy, legal reforms, and the development of national action plans to protect women’s rights, including amending the Domestic Violence Law. The project will also build the capacity of civil society organization members, youth, and the general population to engage in public discussions and advocacy. Training will enhance their understanding of gender equality and CEDAW principles, empowering them to promote gender equality and combat discrimination.

The Results

During a debate on gender equality organized by NGO-CEDAW, youth participants, including many young women, demonstrated increased confidence and advocacy skills. The event, which focused on unpaid house care, featured role-plays, debates, and performances, showcasing the participants’ understanding of gender issues. Feedback from judges and mentors highlighted the quality and impact of their presentations.

This successful engagement not only raised awareness about gender equality among the participants but also enhanced their ability to articulate and advocate for women’s rights in their communities. The event underscored the project’s effectiveness in empowering young advocates and promoting gender equality.

Our Work

By promoting gender equality and strengthening women’s rights, the project tackles one of the fundamental aspects of social inequality. This not only supports marginalized women but also contributes to broader societal equity, reflecting DCA’s commitment to addressing poverty, discrimination, and unequal resource distribution. Both efforts emphasize empowerment, advocacy, and systemic change to achieve social justice.

About the project

Full title: Inclusive Civil Society Actions for Women’s Rights Monitoring and Advocacy for CEDAW Compliance

Period: January 2023 – December 2025

Partner: Cambodian NGO Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (NGO-CEDAW)

Funding: 954,300 DKK

Expected number of people reached: Direct beneficiaries: 1411 in total (868 women, 456 youth). Indirect beneficiaries: 48,000 in total (32,000 women, 28,800 youth)

Main Donors: Danida

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