Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Cambodian women under the spotlight

Is it just me, or do women, generally speaking, get a bum deal in Cambodia? I don't want to start a debate but in my limited experience, they are the fabric that keeps everything together, they work extraordinarily hard, yet they are still seen as second-class citizens in many ways. So its good to see that the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies are bringing out two books which will give a greater focus on women in Cambodia and the uphill battle they face. Trudy Jacobsen's Lost Goddesses: The Denial of Female Power in Cambodian History highlights the lofty position women once held against their struggle to regain that lost ground today. Its published next month, while Mona Lilja's new book, due out in June, will give a unique insight into the political struggles of Cambodian women. Its called Power, Resistance and Women Politicians in Cambodia: Discourses of Emancipation. You can find out more at NIASPress.

1 comment:

Andy said...

FRIDAY, MARCH 09, 2007
Greatest Khmer Women honored during March 8, 2007

By Nhim Sophal
Cambodge Soir
Translated from French by Luc Sâr

Somewhat ahead of schedule, eleven NGOs and the committee for the promotion of women in politics – a committee consisting of six associations – are organizing this Saturday, a Buddhist ceremony at Wat Phnom to honor nine women considered as the “Greatest Women.”

The nine women are:
Preah Neang Soma (Liv Yi) who was the origin of the Khmer people; Yeay Mao to whom all Cambodians traveling to Sihanoukville are paying respect to;
Preah Neang Indradevy, the queen of king Jayavarman VII;
Yeay Khan Khiev, the wife of Oknha Khleang Moeung;
Yeay Yat who is revered by Pailin people;
Yeay Penh, the founder of Phnom Penh;
Neang Chek Neang Cham who are honored in Siem Reap;
Preah Neang Kang Hing, the Goddess of the Earth;
Yeay Tep who is honored by Cambodian artists.

For Thida Khus, director of the Silika NGO, this ceremony is aimed at recalling the younger generations the “heroic feats” accomplished by these women. “These women left a great heritage, in particular in culture, to Cambodians nowadays. The souls of these Great Women are always with us, and they inspire in us a spirit of solidarity and peace,” Thida Khus explained.

Usually, Thida Khus noted, during the International Women’s Day celebration, the women who are honored are contemporary women. “But, we should not forget the soul of these out-of-the ordinary women who are very valuable in the eyes of Khmer people. That is why we have accepted to organize this kind of ceremony,” she added.

The organizers wished to hold the ceremony for two days, however, the municipality only authorized it for Saturday only. Some 500 people are expected to participate in the ceremony attended by 18 monks.