What are the alternatives that CYWEN is working on?

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In October 2010, following a women’s empowerment process carried out in 2009 by JASS (Just Associates)[1], young Cambodian activists formed an alliance called the Cambodian Young Women’s Empowerment Network (CYWEN). It is composed of 30 young women members and a … Continue reading

What’s the use of Cambodian metaphors giving more value to men?


We often hear people say “Men are gold and women are white clothes” or “Don’t be inferior, women.” We also often hear phrases such as “If you lose to women, you should jump into the plate” or “Sons should not cry as daughters should”, or “Housework is work of women”. Also, that “women should not go out; they should only stay at home”. And the list goes on…

These are phrases we often hear until now from our brothers and sisters at home, from our peers in school, and in public spaces. We have even memorized it, and have used it in our daily lives. It is understood that it was the “Code of Conduct” for women and everyone accepted it without demanding any explanations. At the same time, we also do not have the opportunity to discuss its meaning deeply.



Recently in CYWEN (Cambodian Young Women’s Empowerment Network) we had the opportunity to discuss and debate over the question: Should these phrases and proverbs be accepted as “normal” speech or not?
We started discussing among our sisters in a safe space that we created. What’s the real use of Cambodian metaphors giving more value to men? Are these Cambodian metaphors discriminatory against women? Do women really lack or have no capacity and ability?
Here are some of the insights that members of CYWEN imparted: Ms. Kim Maly, a student of Royal University of Law and Economics (RULE) and a member of CYWEN: “For me, I always thought that those words are impolite and inappropriate to use at all. These words clearly show the comparison between women and men by providing low value to women and urged men do something better than women.”
Ms. Prak Monirath, program officer of Khmer Youth Association (KYA) and a member of CYWEN: “I do not agree to those sayings. Those phrases do not respect and give value to both men and women. With those words, benefits for both sexes, for both parties become lost. In fact, women can do things as good as men can or even better. We recognize that some women may have physical limitations but this point we cannot and should not judge that women do not have enough capacity and ability.”


Ms. Sum Dany, a student of Royal University of Law and Economics (RULE) and a member of CYWEN: “Women have equal rights with men. Women are able to participate in every activity that men participate in. So, all those words precisely show the oppression, suppression and discrimination against women. And this is one of the reasons that influence the next generation in society. Are you sure that men can do everything well and that women have no capacity to do great things? These words, it’s putting pressure to men as well. Some men do not attempt to ‘lose’ or ‘win’ because of difference in the sexes. But some also criticize other men who have good intentions and understand the value women.”


Mrs. Pin Marin, a staff of SILAKA organization and a member of CYWEN: “We also recognize that these concepts affect practically both men and women. It’s really difficult to make changes. Actually, we will face a lot of challenges if we really want to see other changes as well. It is very important that they need more explanation and interpretation without blaming any parties. The social structure have trained and influenced us since we were born. As we are women and already undergone this experience, we have great passion to see women and men have equal value, power, and respect. More importantly, that no one is discriminated against by virtue of his or her sex in our next generation.”
CYWEN, a young women’s alliance in Cambodia, has a strong commitment that sexes should not be compared. Women, especially, should not be an object for derogatory comparison. Women and men have equal rights as stipulated in the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Convention on Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of Women. Women and men are eligible to join the development on all sectors such as agriculture, cultural and social tourism, economy, education, and politics.

Women comprise 52% of the total population and an important resource to contribute to society. Both women and men have a role to contribute to the development of society. And that includes housework, participating in training the next generation. Just like the Khmer proverb “SomnabYorng Dei SreyYorng Bros”.


Women do have the ability and potential in practical leadership in all sectors in the country like Princess Liv Yi and Indradevi, they were engraved in the history of admirable women. Currently, women have served almost sectors, even at top three levels: state, private sector, and non-governmental organizations from the local level up to the national level as well. Meanwhile, Cambodian women still face many problems in taking part in various fields as mentioned above, one of the problems is the mindset and social norms. Women’s Code of Conduct is still being followed by everyone to this day – a code that continues to unfairly compare and critique women.

CYWEN-One Billion Rising in Cambodia 2015!!





What does valentine day mean on 14 February?

Valentine day were interpreted in different ways in different context of each countries. In Cambodia, Some of youth thought that it is a day for single youths who have love and they should have a date on the day to exchange flowers and special gift. Most of youth also thought that they should have special thing than normal day for their boyfriends or girlfriends.

Especially, boys or mans thought that to show the great love is that girl should have sexual with them. It mean that girls or women love him truly. Moreover, some men or boys oppressed girls or women to give the true picture of love through having sex with men she love. Some men used those rational to lobby or force girls or women to have sexual. And to make sense, some men or boys try to keep promise to get marriage after they have sexual.

Who involved in One Billion Rising campaign in Cambodia 2015?
Cambodia Young Women Empowerment Network (CYWEN), one of among other youth and young women organizations, that JASS helped concrete in Cambodia. CYWEN joined with Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC) to co-organize the One Billion Rising campaign (OBR) in Cambodia 2015 with the theme “Go forward! Change Attitude STOP all form of violence against Women and Girl”. OBR, everyone knew that it is globe campaign to end violence against women in the world. 1 in 3 women across the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. That’s ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS.

What does  CYWEN do with One Billion Rising campaign in Cambodia?
CYWEN made new waves in a radio talk show called “Women Can Do” on FM 105. CYWEN member Dany Sum spoke about the activities surrounding the “One Billion Rising 2015” campaign in Cambodia before 14 February 15. The aim of make wave in radio talk show is that encourage boys or men understand the rights way of Valentine day and OBR campaign.

CYWEN member made the social-media campaign like posting the picture with “Rev0lution massage”, develop picture-brochure to calling for participation through CYWEN face book to join flash mobs at Olympic Stadium on 13 February 15.

“I think that social media especially, face book is the far and popular way to do the advocacy and bring our voice to be heart. I do ‘picture-brochure’ to make youth interested in” Said Sum Dany, Member of Cambodia Young women Empowerment Network (CYWEN).

There were at least 100 young women and men join flash mob at Olympic Stadium on 13 February 15. “I strongly support and join flash mob to stop violence against women on valentine day. Most of women were forced to have sexual to her true love. It is not for sexual day. ”

“Generally, girl and boy show their love in wrong ways like have sex without understand of reproductive health and sexual safety. It is very dangerous to understand in wrong way. I proposed to the man who should stop this attitude.” said Phearong Sdoueng, member of Cambodia Young Women Empowerment Network.

“I am glad to join flash mob, I feel that I have power to change the women situation that we start together. I see brochure in face book and then I come here.” said by Participant who don’t wish to show her name.
Violence against women happened every minutes in Cambodia. Young women movement is part of revolution.

Written by Dany Sum and edited by Yit Sophorn, Cambodia Young Women Empowerment Network

CYWEN-One Day One Voice 2014 “End Violence against Women Human Rights Defenders”


Cambodia Young Women Empowerment Network (CYWEN) organized One Day One Voice Campaign on 30th of November 14, as JASS-inspired to leads JASS’ 4th annual One Day, One Voice regional campaign in the country. One Day, One Voice is a parallel campaign to the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence.

In line with regional campaign theme “Justice for All Women Human Rights Defenders”, CYWEN raised national theme “End Violence against Women Human Rights Defenders” which did at Khmer Youth Association (KYA) office in Phnom Penh.  With this event, CYWEN organized the gallery walks highlighting four issues that Cambodian women are facing such as land rights, LGBT rights, domestic workers’ rights and garment workers’ rights and invite the real activist of each topic to presentation.

As result, CYWEN have noted good point in event below:

  • There are 145 participants took part this event.
  • Young women and man participant was interested in each topics with real activist.
  • Participants have chance to learn, reflect and share idea with real women grass root activist.
  • Participants have safe space to identify the root course from issues and learn from other participant’s ideas and give recommendation.
  • Participants gave more recommendation how to improve the situation.
  • CYWEN take role as create chance for other young women and man to learn and care about Cambodia society starting collect hot issues to learn and analysis.
  • Developed the recommendation as statement letter and shared during Human rights day 10.

Yit Sophorn is chair coordinator of CYWEN provided the positive massage that she is very satisfied with this event. “I am very satisfied to create this safe space for our young women to deep learn and discuss on those issues. We are calling for them to stop all form violence against women. We are women we are strong and can change this situation” said by Yit Sophorn.

“Being part of the discussion was an important learning experience for me. I am now aware and realized that they are very brave to challenge with culture barriers and other people discriminate to her as women activist,” said Chhit Khemara, CYWEN member.

“It is very interesting event, One Day One Voice for this year is great than last year. We have learnt and discussed the hot issues at same time of women activist face the problem such as land and factory problem. They faced with huge challenges of governmental development plan and culture of power over.  I attained deep understanding through speaker-women activist sharing and facilitator” said by participant (she don’t wish to show her name).

Most of the girl in Cambodia were raised in Khmer culture — a culture that places higher value and status on men, which gives them more power.  Men are considered superior, attaining high position in society while women are considered as second class citizens. Both men and women strongly accept this practice – this patriarchal system.

Man has higher status and position than women while women’s role is to follow men’s wishes and advices. Man has more power over to women. Whenever women challenge with man power women will get violence from man.

Author By Yit Sophorn

Great meeting happend today evening with CYWEN Team!

Cambodia Young Women Empowerment Networking (CYWEN) collected 12 young women from difference sector to discuss about the Regional Campaign One Day One Voice 14. Regional theme for 2014 is Women as Human Right Defender. CYWEN is young women group that get technical support from JASS SEA since 2011 will conduct the One Day One Voice Campaign with this theme and with Cambodia contextualize. CYWEN have theme ” End violence against women as human right defender”.
through this safe space meeting we found good initiative from our sisters to build action that will coming up soon during 16 day Campaign.

There are many cases that show about the violence against women as human rights defender in Cambodia. Even though Women human rights defender of Cambodia was released since the end of 2013 And other human right defender (man) also released after there were many time of rally to calling for release them in Cambodia we still have concern that it will happened against and against because the hot concern issues especially, land issues and wages of garment worker is not solved. Generally, the movement of worker and land rights activist move step forward to make demonstration rally in difference form a past few year and recently. They faced to violent crown down from governmental difference way. As result, some of women land right activist and worker was arrested in prison.

According to local human rights groups, some 200 people were arrested in land disputes in Cambodia in 2012, which is nearly twice the number for 2011, and is the highest number in five years, according to the rights group Adhoc, underscoring continued use of the courts for the prosecution of activists and villagers caught up in land grabs, forced evictions and other disputes as Cambodia continues to develop. “More than 1,000 people have been persecuted and arrested in land disputes since 2007,” said Chan Saveth, a senior investigator for Adhoc. “The increase in the amount of arrests is because old issues have not been solved for most of the cases.”

One Day One Voice Campaign on “Does Women is an objective of Rape?”


16 Days Campaign End Violence Against Women is an international campaign celebrated in many countries around the world every year,  Cambodia in 2013 there are 24 organizations including UN Women-Cambodia will organize this campaign in Phnom Penh.

16 Days End Violence Against Women is the Women Discrimination Elimination in  world wide, start  from  the  25th November to the 10th December when activist promote and raise awareness of violence against women. Continue reading

យុទ្ធនាការ ថ្ងៃតែមួយ សំលេងតែមួយ ក្រោមប្រធានបទ “តើស្រ្តីជាកម្មវត្ថុនៃការរំលោភបំពានរឺ ?”

បណ្តាញពង្រឹងសិទ្ធិអំណាចស្ត្រីវ័យក្មេងនៅកម្ពុជា (Cambodia Young Women  Empowerment  Network ) ជាបណ្តុំសមាជិកស្ត្រីវ័យក្មេងចំនួយ៣០រូបដែលមកពីអង្គការមិនមែនរដ្ឋាភិបាល និងកំពុងរួមគ្នាក្នុងទិសដៅលើកកម្ពស់ស្ត្រីវ័យក្មេង​និង​ពង្រឹង​សិទ្ធិ​អំណាច​ដល់​ស្ត្រី​វ័យក្មេង​នៅកម្ពុជាក្នុងភាពជាអ្នកដឹកនាំ។ គម្រោងនេះបានចាប់ផ្តើមតាំងពីឆ្នាំ២០០៩ មកដល់បច្ចុប្បន្ន និងបន្តទៅអនាគត។ Continue reading

Experience in lobbying with the family

Ms. Kim Houng was graduated from Royal University Of Law and Economic (RULE), Major was Law. Ms. Kim Houng is the first daughter in her family. Her family has 4 Kids, one daughter and 3 sons which living at Takeo province.

She was forced to drop her education while she graduated at High school during 2007, at that time she was 19 years old. Her parents though that she is a woman, she is no need to get more higher education. She should stop and set up a small business at her community because her parents and relatives are doing a small business at her community.

But she herself; she don’t think like that she had tried to do lobbying with her family by saying that “I think men and women as the same so I should go to university and if you like to do the business I can do it after I finish the university. She had explained her parents that “If I can finish university I will know better than what you known and I can use my education from university to do a better business than what you do”. She also raised to her parents about her uncle had been finished university and got a better job with good benefit. Finally her parents agreed with her to continue her university. She came to Phnom Penh to make test in university and got scholarship at university…”. This made her family is very proud of her and she is a good role model and her hero for her relatives.

All her relative are women also can go to university after they finished their high school because of her model.

Cambodia Movement Building Initiative (CMBI) training to university student

Cambodian Young Women Empowerment Network (CYWEN)’s member have provided training to 36 participants are young women university student in two day from 19th – 20th May 2012 at Himavari Hotel.

The purpose of this training:

1. Mobilizing CYWEN Network as a young women
2. Cambodian young women also as CYWEN we understanding on gender        issues,  be a leader and be able to advocate people
3. Build up relation among Cambodia young women and sharing experiences.

CYWEN in ASEAN People Forum 2012

Cambodian Young Women Empowerment Network (CYWEN) was introduced to ASEAN Civil Society Conferences ASEAN People Forum (ACSC/APF), 15 CYWEN members participated at ASEAN Peoples Forum, on 29-31 March 2012. During the national process, prior to APF, some women NGOs organized a Cambodia Women Forum to develop a joint statement and highlight it during the APF. CYWEN managed to hold a workshop on “Young Women in Leadership” attended by around 33 people, 80% of them are young women.

The purpose of the presentation of the members in the forum are to introduce CYWEN to other ASEAN civil societies, to encourage the members to learn about issues in the regional countries through presentation and find the way to join statement and recommendation to promote young women’s participation.

Chan Kunthea, Just Association (JASS) South East Asia regional coordinator said that, “Through participation in the forum, CYWEN members could learn about women and youth’s issues in the ASEAN countries. And it is a chance for us to work in partner societies in the region which are working on women rights.”

During the civil society fair in APF 2012, CYWEN members introduced to participants about JASS; JASS SEA and CYWEN during their visit in our booth through selling T-shirts which are designed with JASS logo. The income from this, the members will use to run necessary activities such as advocacy or media campaign. On the final day of the forum, CYWEN held a closing performance to all audience by sang their song titled “Youth for Non Violence Society”.

Ouk Sam Ath CYWEN core member joined the 3 days forum said, “I have gained a lot of knowledge from other participants. I also leant other women issues in other countries and leant tactic how they deal with those.”

Chan Kunthea added, “Seven recommendations on promoting young women’s participation in society and politic affair in the APF such as we need all ASEAN nations to implement CEDAW, there should have gender mainstreaming in also sectors and they should provide opportunities for ASEAN young women to build a network…”

At the regional level, CYWEN is partnered with the Southeast Asia network of JASS which founded in 2002 –, whose regional Southouest Asia activist leadership processes trained the core group of women who founded CYWEN. JASS continues to provide training on movement-building, advocacy, ICT use and documentation for CYWEN members at the regional level, as well as ongoing accompaniment, mentorship and support for young women activists as they carry out local and national-level activities. JASS trainings also connect women activists from Cambodia, Timor L’este, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, who are supported to work together to develop strategies for pushing women’s agendas at the ASEAN level. CPWP/SILAKA, which serves as JASS’ local partner, is the host organization of CYWEN.

By Lay Ratana, CYWEN member