Working Papers   71

A Gendered Analysis of Decentralisation Reform in Cambodia

Published: 03-Dec-2012
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The commune/sangkat elections in 2002 and 2007 marked a significant step forward in Cambodia’s democratic decentralisation process. Decentralisation is the most deep-cutting public sector reform and the politically most important democratic development in Cambodia. The reform rearranges power structures, creates space for a more pluralistic political representation, addresses gender equality in local politics, and triggers articulation of new opinions. However, reforms continue to face significant challenges: female representation in political decision-making bodies remains inadequate, gendered articulation of ideas and priorities has limited resonance, and entrenched gendered power structures are not easily altered and even less readily removed. Taking democratic decentralisation and gender equality into account, this study aims to explore the space for women in Cambodia’s emerging local governance system: To what extent is there an increased gender balance? How do women manage to articulate and pursue their views in local politics? In answering these research questions, we empirically examine two critical issues: female representation in the commune council and women’s political articulation and influence in local politics.

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