Women’s economic empowerment is widely recognized as one the critical foundations for promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. The greater participation by women in the economy will accelerate the attainment of national goals, such as sustainable and inclusive economic development with a fair share for women. Women’s economic empowerment (WEE) aims to create income-generating opportunities for women through promoting decent wage employment and micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) development. It is anticipated that creating sustainable economic opportunities will reduce vulnerabilities of women, such as human trafficking, illegal cross-border migration or even domestic violence as a result of increased incomes and ownership of assets. If incomes increase, women will be able to invest in the development of their livelihoods and contribute to sustainable community development.

WEE covers at least four policy areas related to wage employment, MSME development, migration and rural livelihoods: 1. In Cambodia, labour market development is one arm of the Rectangular Strategy, which considers the private sector the main driver of the economy. Wage employment and social protection of workers is governed by the Labour Law and various international conventions. The mandate for implementing the Labour Law lies with the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MoLVT). 2. The promotion of MSMEs cuts across various line ministries. It is also covered by public-private dialogue to create a favourable business environment for MSMEs and the delivery of financial services. 3. A number of national laws related to labour migration have been revised and will form the basis for guidelines for recruitment agencies and training centres, as well as complaint procedures. 4. Improving livelihoods relates to basic village infrastructure, nutrition, sanitation and subsistence-based small economic activities, which fall under the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) and the Ministry of Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF). The governing policy for “Improving Livelihoods of Rural Communities, especially Poor Women” is outlined in the National Medium-Term Priority Framework (NMTPF) of MAFF.

MoWA focus on women’s economic empowerment by developing and implementing a PBA, in partnership with development partners and line ministries to support the women’s economic empowerment program through the TWG on Women’s Economic Empowerment (TWGG-WEE). The program will involve various line ministries (including the Ministry of Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy (MIME), the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MoLVT), the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), the Ministry of Tourism (MoT), the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) and others). The private sector, chambers of commerce and civil society organizations will also be involved.

MoWA has changed from project implementation and service delivery to catalyst and provider of capacity development and technical advice on gender mainstreaming in the economic sector. The focus will be on ensuring that relevant line ministries and economic actors are systematically addressing specific targeted gender gaps in their economic, business and financial services, and

MoWA is able to build line ministries’ capacity for gender equality, and support and monitor their programs.

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