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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Taking gender roles for a ride on Koh Trong

Taking gender roles for a ride on Koh Trong

Just across from Kratie on the island of Koh Trong traditional gender roles are breaking down. Nuth Sam Ath, 27, is a mother of two. She is also a motodop (motorbike taxi) driver.

“I did not know what to do after the farming season,” she says.

While Sam Ath waits for passengers taking the ferry from Kratie, her husband stays at home caring for their children, preparing dinner and looking after their cow.

The reason for this division of labour is simplicity itself. “My husband is shy, I am not,” she explains.

Most of Sam Ath’s customers are Khmers, as the few tourists who come to the island tend to have their own bicycles or prefer to walk. Sam Ath’s gender has not affected her business.

“I’ve never had a problem with Khmers not wanting a woman driver,” she says. “Nobody has ever told me this is not a job for a woman.”

Sam Ath makes around $3 per day, which supplements the money the couple make from farming.

As for her husband’s cooking, Sam Ath has no complaints there either. “He is a really skilful cook,” she says.

In the future Sam Ath would like to run a homestay on the island, but she does not have the capital to get started. For the time being, though she is happy being the island’s two-wheeled taxi company.



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