Biography of Her Excellency Dr. Ing Kantha Phavi

Minister of Women’s Affairs of Cambodia

Her Excellency Dr. Ing Kantha Phavi has served as Minister of Women’s Affairs of Cambodia since 2004 and her last reappointment was in September 2013. From 1999 to 2004, Dr. Phavi served as Secretary of State in the Ministry of Women’s and Veterans’ Affairs.

In addition to her ministerial post, since 2004 Minister Phavi serves as Chairwoman of the Cambodian National Council for Women and since 2006 as Chairwoman of the National Committee to Uphold Social Morality, Women’s and Khmer Family’s Values.

Minister Phavi has been instrumental for promoting Gender Equality and Gender Mainstreaming at international, national and sub-national levels.

In the region and worldwide, Minister Phavi has contributed to the advancement of a rights-based women’s agenda, especially at the East Asia Gender Equality Ministerial Meetings, the East Asia Ministerial Forums on Families and the ASEAN Ministerial Meetings on Women.

At national level, Minister Phavi has been an architect to levy gender in key policies such as the National Poverty Reduction Strategy; the Cambodian Millennium Development Goals; the Rectangular Strategy for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency; the National Strategic Development Plans; and the United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks.

Minister Phavi played a decisive role in the development and approval of the Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and the Protection of Victims (2005). Under her leadership, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs also succeeded in integrating gender aspects in important national laws such as the Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation (2008), the Organic Law for Deconcentration and Decentralization (2008) and the Land Law (2001).

Minister Phavi has led the Ministry of Women’s Affairs for developing and implementing national policies to improve the status of women in Cambodia, namely the Third and the Fourth Five-Year Strategic Plans for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (Neary Rattanak III and IV); the Cambodia Gender Assessments 2004, 2008, and 2014; and the First and Second National Action Plans to Prevent Violence Against Women (2009-2013 and 2014-2014, respectively).

Currently Minister Phavi continues to advocate for gender in ongoing state reforms and is particularly passionate about promoting women’s economic empowerment, women’s role in decision making and politics and ending violence against women and children.

In the nineties, Dr. Phavi worked first in France as a private medical doctor and, later on, as director of the drugs trials department at ABR, a French firm involved in marketing and research for medical drugs. Dr. Phavi also served as Deputy Secretary General in the medical NGO Association des Medecins Cambodgiens (AMC), which provides medical and social assistance to Cambodia. From 1995 to 1997, Minister Phavi worked in Cambodia as technical advisor to the Ministry of Rural Development, where she was responsible for community health and rural economic development programs including micro-credits.

Minister Phavi holds a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) Degree by Saint Antoine University, University Paris VI, with a specialty in nutrition and tropical diseases and a Diploma in Public Administration from Ecole Nationale d’Administration in Paris (ENA). She participated in the executive program “Leaders in Development: Managing political and economic reforms” at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (2004). In 2014 Minister Phavi was one of the nine women leaders awarded by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) as “Most Outstanding Women”.

Minister Phavi is married and has one daughter.