today is International Women's Day. In Cambodia all the schools close on this date.
Our students told us that it is typical for the cambodian husband to make his wife (really) happy on this day. He cleans the house, cooks the food, washes the clothes, and they go somewhere to eat food together. And he gives a flower to her.
The theme of this year's international campaign is „PledgeForParity“ (internationalwomensday.com)
We created a small surfey to ask our Khmer teacher and older students what they think about gender equality in Cambodia. We got surprised how much they actually do care about this topic. In this album we collected all the ideas together and sorted them again. There are a lot of different opinions mixed together. It is really interesting, please enjoy!!
This is Sokha. She is 23 years old and has been a teacher here at our school in Som Roungh for 3 years already. Before she worked in a factory but as she wanted to study more English herself and be able to share her knowledge with the people around her, she decided to become a teacher. She also studies tourism in Phnom Penh and will finish her studies next year. As she loves seeing new places and learning about new cultures this course really suits her and is also very good for her future plans which are to become a tourguide in Siem Reap and later a manager of a hotel. For Sokha education is very important . She wants everybody in Cambodia - boy, girl, rich or poor - to have the chance to go to school and so have more possibilities in life. Sokha is also pleased to be able to say that women's situation in Cambodia is becoming better and better. Women now have the same rights as men and as we are celebrating International Women's Day this is certainly a great achievement for Cambodia.
Av Pov is also 23 years old but is a student here at S.C.A.O. II. She grew up in Som Roungh, has 1 sister and 3 brothers and has been coming to our school for 2 and a half years. She started learning here while she was still in high school because she wanted to learn more English. Av Pov especially wants to improve her English speaking skills and is very committed in coming to conversation class. If she can speak English well then this will improve her chances of getting a good job. Last year Av Pov passed her exams and finished high school. Now she is looking for a job, her favourite would be to work in a supermarket. She feels that a supermarket is a safe place to work and also cool because of the air conditioning - what is never a bad thing in Cambodia! At the moment she helps out in the family's shop down the road from our school. There they sell, among other things, sweets, ice cream and school material. Av Pov also feels that men and women have equal rights and can achieve the same things in Cambodia now. This may be how most of the younger generation think but she explained that the older generation sees things differently. They think that women have certain things that they should and should not do. For example women should stay near or in the family's home and shouldn't go to university unlike boys who should have the opportunity of further education. But Av Pov is happy to say that the younger people are changing their way of thinking and that equality is getting better and better in Cambodia.
Sreylat is 25 years old and has been a teacher at SCAO for 8 years already. At the moment she doesn't teach, because she gave birth to her son Patin just 17 days ago.
To start with one example: When she was a child, her brother could join the birthday party the whole night. She was only allowed to stay until 9, she could not even stay one hour longer without getting punished. In general its okay for girls to go out with girls. But only at daytime. Most parents don't allow their daughter to go out with female friends at night, because they are afraid, she would lie to them and meet a boy. Boys and girls should not be together unless they get married. Especially the girl should not meet boys. The other way around is not a problem, boy's parents don't care too much. If the boy meets girls, its fine. We know this curiosity from all over the world already just on a different level: Boys can have a lot of girls, girls cannot have a lot of boys.
Sreylat knows that there is a lot of inequality in Cambodia. But these rules aren't set up by the religion, or by the government. Its tradition that is forced by the parents on their children. For equality the mind of the people has to change. There are so many rules and the young adults start lying and cheating on their parents. If there would be less rules the children could stop hiding from their parents and be honest again. Another important thing is that parents should stop to choose the wife/husband for their children. As well as the housework should be shared. And people should stop saying that women don't have the power to do this and that. Because women have a lot of power as well, not only to give birth. And just because they do boyish things like driving a big moto or wearing one earring, it doesn't mean they wish to be a boy or a gangster. They just want to try. People should not always be pushed in certain directions. “You should do what you want to do.”
Sreylat has er own son now. Of course she has a dream for her boy. She would love him to become a doctor. But if he doesn't want to, its fine. If he wants to become a football player, like his father, that's fine as well. She won't push him in any direction. She wants to tell him what she knows. But its his life and he has to decide on his own. Same would be for her daughter. Sure, there are some rules, but she wouldn't say “No.” without any reason. In her childhood the reason always was just “No, you cannot. - Why? - Because you are a girl.”
“Sorry, I don't want to offend anyone. There are a lot of girls who support their parents and who like the way it is now. And I support my mum as well. What I describe is just the way I wished it would have been in my childhood. Less pressure, more freedom, more reason.”
Result #1 of our small survey:
What rules should a cambodian girl follow?
Wear a long skirt in school. Don't go out at night. Listen to your parents. Don't use drugs and alcohol. Respect the traffic lights. Cook. Don't wear short or sexy clothes. In the past they always should wear a skirt. Can't have a boyfriend. Don't go partying. Wear long hair. Be friendly. Do the housework. Don't swear. Don't talk bad about others. Listen to the teacher. Make your parents happy. Don't play with boys.
Usually the girls are better students than the boys.
What rules should a cambodian boy follow?
Wear short hair. Don't act like a gangster. Go to school. Don't use drugs and alcohol. Respect the traffic lights. Can go out at night. Don't fight with girls. Can't have a girlfriend. Help your father to earn money. Be friendly. Don't talk bad about others. Don't be lazy.
Things, I cannot do, because of my gender:
Climbing on mountains. Surfing. Boxing.
When a boy loves someone, he can tell her. I am a girl, I cannot tell the boy that I love him.
Really often I want to hang out with my friends, but I cannot, because my mum doesn't allow me. She wants me to do a lot of housework, but my brother can do what he wants.
Boys cannot take care of babies.
The boys can't use Make Up.
Wear a scarf. For marriage they need to confess to the same religion.
Women cannot touch Monks. Women cannot be the driver for a Monk. Monks cannot drive a moto etc by themselves.
Result #2 of our small survey:
What rules should a cambodian woman follow?
Find a job to support the family. Study at University. Don't go out at night. Wear the traditional clothes, especially not the short and sexy things. Good behavior. Don't use drugs and alcohol. Respect the traffic lights. Cook. Housework. Speak slowly and walk silently. Don't be lazy.
What rules should a cambodian man follow?
Find a job to support the family. Study at University. Can do everything. Wear short hair. Good behavior. Don't use drugs and alcohol. Respect the traffic lights. Support the mother and grandmother. Don't gossip about the women. Don't fall into craziness (girls, alcohol, bet)
Jobs women cannot do
builder, plumber, IT, electric, boxer, truckdriver, pilot, construction work, taxi driver, moto driver, climbing on palmtrees
In general people say women cannot do the hard jobs. And the jobs with a big career, because they are supposed to give birth and take care of the family.
Jobs, men cannot do
Would you prefer to be a boy?
No. But sometimes I want to be a boy, because they can do everything. (I'm jealous)
Sometimes I wish to be a boy, because of pregnancy and health.
Yes, I wish to be a man. Because the man cannot become pregnant.
No, I am happy with being a girl, because nowadays we don't care too much about the rules anymore.
No, I like to be a girl, because for me it's easy to earn money. I could work in a factory. Men cannot.
Yes, sometimes I wish to be a boy. Because women/girls have to do the housework, but boys/men don't have to.
No, I am happy with being a girl. Because the girls can also have the same jobs like the boys.
No, I am very happy with being a girl.
Would you prefer to be a girl?
No, I am happy with being a boy, because when I do something wrong, it's not bad for me.
No, I am happy with being a boy.
Result #3 of our small survey:
What rules should a cambodian wife follow?
Do all the housework. Take care of the children. Please the husband. Don't gossip. Cook the food. Go to the market. Responsible for the accounting. Don't have arguments. Try to protect the husband
What rules should a cambodian husband follow?
Earn money for the family. Sometimes help with the housework. Responsible for the family. Don't smoke secretly. Look after the children. Don't say bad words to your wife. Don't hit your wife. Give the money to the wife. Make your wife happy. Love your wife.
Sometimes the husband is the one who stays at home and takes care of the children as well. And the wife goes out to earn the money. They can do what they want.
It depends on the family and their traditions. But most people say the men have more power than the women.
You think we need more gender equality in Cambodia? What should change in Cambodia to make sure there is more gender equality?
The boy shouldn't fight with the girl.
No, I think, the genders are equal in Cambodia.
The girl shouldn't have to do all the housework on her own. And there should be less rules for the girls.
Yes, of course. In Cambodia most of the girls still work harder than the boys.
Yes, we need. Because most of the companies want women only as receptionist or manager. They can't get the big jobs.
Yes I think we need more gender equality. We need a change in our society.
One more: There are a lot of gay and lesbian people. We should open the world for them.
Stop calling girls tomboys, because they play football or boys gay, just because he is able to sew and so on.
Do you think you have to do certain things because of your gender?
No. But in society yes. I think there is no point in doing things because of your gender. Sex doesn't matter, because we're human. A guy can do what a girl can do as well.
Am Freitag war unser Creative-Friday besonders kreativ. Jede Klasse hat ihren Beitrag geleistet. Morgens um 7 habe ich angefangen und abends um 7 haben wir in der Dunkelheit angefangen aufzuräumen. Zwischenzeitlich haben wir die Malkünste so mancher Schüler angezweifelt und uns schon Sorgen um das Endergebnis gemacht. Aber alles zusammen gibt es ein großartiges Bild.
Die Idee kam von Nadin, einer unserer Freiwilligen. Zusammen mit ihrem Bruder hat sie die Farben und die Pinsel gesponsert.
Ich bin extreeem zufrieden!
Am Ende gabs noch eine Mini-Abschiedsparty für Nadin, weil sie uns jetzt verlassen wird...