German political think tank Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and Singapore-based collaborative entrepreneur forum Woomentum on Friday launched a book featuring 21 female leaders of the Kingdom.
Twenty-one women from the government, the private sector, civil society and business associations were selected for Cambodia’s Women Leaders: 21 Stories of Grit and Resilience to share their stories of overcoming adversity, as well as tales of failure and success.
The launch attracted a few hundred participants from the government and the private sector. A panel discussion was organised to share thoughts on efforts to achieve gender equality, particularly in Cambodia.
“These true stories serve as precious testimony to a young generation of girls, documenting that women like themselves can lead and still be able to have a family, that women are as capable as men, that they can have a voice, and that they can have the authority to make important decisions which shape their future and their children’s,” said Mouna Aouri, founder and CEO of Woomentum, in the book’s foreword.
Socheata Touch, Woomentum Cambodian chapter president, said the book would be a worthy source of empowerment for women and girls across different industries and countries.
Among the 21 prominent women featured in the book is Minister of Women’s Affairs Ing Kanthaphavi; Phoeung Sackona, Minister of Culture and Fine Arts and president of the Apsara Authority that manages Siem Reap’s Angkor Archaeological Park; Pung Chhiv Kek, founder and president of human rights NGO Licadho; and Chea Serey, assistant governor and director-general of the National Bank of Cambodia.
“This is far more than compiling interviews about strong and successful women in diverse positions. It is about telling stories about the lives lived by women who faced many barriers and challenges in a patriarchal and hierarchical society and yet overcame them."
“It is their dedication to the next generations to show them that success is not anymore bound to gender or background – it is bound to strength, wit and courage,” said Daniel Schmucking, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung country representative.
Sambo Manara, a history professor who participated in the launch event, said women needed freedom, support and self-determination to flourish.
“But how can women achieve this?” he asked. “I want women from today to be determined to succeed.”
Robert Hoer, digitalisation programme manager at Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Cambodia, said the digital version of the book is available on the think tank’s website, while the print version is available at its office free of charge.
To reach a broader readership, he said the printed book will be distributed to government institutions, businesses and other partners in Cambodia.