Women rarely pursue a career in engineering or technology-related fields, with the majority of them flocking to study accounting, finance or banking.
Yun Kea, 21, has dreamed of becoming a civil engineer since she was in 12th grade in Prey Veng province. As nearby land was rented to build an aviation project, she saw a female engineering consultant get out of a car with a chauffeur inside. The engineer looked smart, energetic, professional and of course highly paid. The sight of a successful woman in a field of work largely dominated by men became the inspiration for Kea to become a civil engineer as well.
Kea explains: “I was told that few women are in the field, but this was not a problem for me. Women can also become engineers. If they don’t want to go to do field work, there’s work in the office,” said Kea, adding that “as Cambodia is a developing country, I believe there will be lots of work for civil engineers in the future.”
Currently as a fourth-year student at Norton University, Yun Kea is one of only two females among the more than 400 civil engineering students in her batch. Academically, she was top of the class last semester.
Kea is smart and scores high grades but she feels she lacks practical knowledge. She now wonders how one becomes a successful civil engineer, apart from doing well at university.