Koch Samath, 19, senior at National University of Management.
“In Cambodia, many people aren’t interested in sport. Consequently, if a woman chooses sport as her career, she won’t earn much and won’t be valued by other people. Cambodian people prefer their women to stay at home and take care of the children; they don’t want their wives to spend most of their time on sport. This is why I don’t support women who choose sport as their career. And the involvement of Cambodian women in sport will remain limited unless our government puts strategies in place to help and support our athletes, as happens in Western countries. Furthermore, women should confine themselves to certain sports; boxing, Bokator and the like seem to disrespect Cambodian tradition.”
Ty Sovisal, 21, a year 4 student at the Royal University of Phnom Penh
“The world has changed, and women in Cambodia are no longer influenced by some of the old traditions. Women and men have equal rights, and they have the freedom to choose any job they like. I support the involvement of women in sport, even though some of them gain a lot of muscle and end up looking a bit like men, but that’s just their appearance; it doesn’t mean anything to me. Some older people find the notion of a woman having a career in sport unacceptable, but in my generation sport will become a very common career choice for girls. So I want to tell all the women who love sport to stick with it and achieve the success they desire.”
Sim Sokcheardavy, 21, a year 3 student at the Institute of Foreign Languages.
“It’s not a good career path for women, because some sports require them to run, jump and fight, which is not very ladylike. Women are not as strong as men, so they should find another job that is easier. When we talk about women, beauty always comes first, but a sportswoman has to give up her beauty; she will lose her slim shape and develop muscles on most parts of her body. I also wonder whether a sportswoman can be as good a wife or mother as normal girl, because they have to spend a lot of time training and may not have much time left for their family.”
Tan Sokunwatey, 20, a sophomore student at the University of Health and Sciences
“I really encourage women who choose sport as their career, because they can advance themselves through it. By definition, sportswomen must be healthy and strong, and because of this, they have long lives and less stress. Moreover, they can involve themselves in society and often have a lot of opportunities to travel abroad. As well, sportswomen can earn money to support their families, and they can pass on their passion for exercise and a healthy lifestyle to their children or relatives. Third, women who have careers in sport benefit our country as well, for they show that in Cambodia, sportswomen are regarded just as highly as women in business or in professions.”
Ly Chanda, 20, a year 3 student at the National Polytech Institute of Cambodia
“Sport isn’t a suitable career for Cambodian women, because many sports are not really developed in this country and aren’t supported by Cambodians. And, even though they spend a great deal of time training, sportspeople don’t earn very much. In addition, women have a lot of career choices besides sport, so they can keep their feminine shape without becoming muscular like men. I don’t want to sound as though I’m biased against sportswomen, but I would prefer not to have a sportswoman as my wife, because she might not have much time for me and my family and would not look attractive.”