Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Changing Role of Women in Cambodian Society

Many years ago, it was usual in Cambodia to say: “All what women do is moving around the stoves.” Today, things are changing.

“Women belong to the kitchen stove” is an old Cambodian proverb. Nowadays, through intercultural dialogue and globalization, especially among the younger generation, things have changed.

Tradition says that women are responsible for looking after the house, for cooking and for bringing up the children. Apart from these, no other task was permitted. Sounds like a typical male chauvinistic society, right? However, it is interesting to note that for centuries that was the way that society operated.

In the past, schools was not for girls in Cambodia, Only men had a say and thought that schooling was not important for girls, for they would would anyhow get married and then become housewives. To learn something else would just be a waste of time, they thought. No girl could therefore study something, and even if she did occasionally, she was not able to apply her knowledge because her job after marriage was confined to the kitchen stove.

Since I was young my relatives said to my parent they are not agree with my parent to allow me to study English at night time, they said I’m a daughter why need to study a lot? I felt very upset when I heard this word from them, and I told my parent I will prove them they are wrong. In school I was study hard, I try to study and got a great score from school. Since I was study in primary school I’m a Mayor in the class, so who say the Women cannot be a leader? 

As I grow up and finish my high school I try to find a job, even salary cannot support my daily live but at least I gained experiences from it. A receptionist in Computer Center is my part time job as I need to continue study in university at night time so only work for half day, 50 bucks per month is cannot support for my daily live but even that I am happy with what I do, When I got my first pay check I feel very excited. My parents are also proud of me.

Day by day, year by year after I finished my Bachelor degree in Finance and Banking, nowadays I’m a Finance and Administration in the project of Ausaid, even I’m not very successful person but I can say I’m happy with what I have, I’m proud of who I am. Today a lot of Companies in Cambodia the percentage of female employee are increase more than a few years ago, even in Ministries and government.

Last but not least I can say that Women in the world including women in Cambodia have the right to do anything, they can do what they want, they can be a leader - they can be ANYTHING!

Written by Kimleang 

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