Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Women left out of talks after evictions: report

Women left out of talks after evictions: report

A soldier speaks to villagers being evicted from Kratie province’s Chhlong district in 2012. A recent study found women to be underrepresented in the negotiations surrounding such evictions.
A soldier speaks to villagers being evicted from Kratie province’s Chhlong district in 2012. A recent study found women to be underrepresented in the negotiations surrounding such evictions. Heng Chivoan

Women left out of talks after evictions: report

While women are at the frontline of land-use protests, they are underrepresented in post-eviction negotiation processes, a new research paper shows.

The study, entitled Gendered eviction, protest and recovery: a feminist political ecology engagement with land grabbing in rural Cambodia and published last week in the Journal of Peasant Studies, looked at protests and post-eviction negotiations during a land dispute between villagers, the government and Vietnamese rubber company Binh Phuoc II in Snuol district in Kratie province.

During evictions, men often fled while women stayed, interviews with affected communities in 2014 and 2015 found.

“Women told us they were informed by the authorities present that they could collect their belongings from the rubble ‘quickly’ but that men would be shot if they tried to do the same,” they wrote.

Women often protested – for example in Phnom Penh – as there was “a perceived reduction in the threat of violence” against women compared to men, and better ability to express emotions.

Ran Sopheak Pagna, programme coordinator at grassroots organisation Building Community Voice, said that under Cambodian norms, women were seen as “weaker” and that threats of violence were perceived as being lower when women led protests. “When men beat women, it’s not acceptable,” he said.

But Eang Vuthy, executive director of land rights organisation Equitable Cambodia, partially disagreed. He noted that a number of peaceful protests led by women were met with violence by security forces over the past few years.

“Because the protests and demonstrations become intense . . . [the security forces] have to find a way to put a stop to them,” he said. “This is very concerning.”

Despite being on the frontlines of protests, women were underrepresented in negotiations, according to the researchers, often due to the stigma that women do not understand politics, and because of lower education.

“In contrast to the protest period, when women were being recognized as leaders or as points of contact for media or researchers, in the [negotiations] men took leadership roles,” they write.

While Vuthy agreed that women were underrepresented in negotiations in rural areas, he argued that this was different in the city.

A Land Management Ministry spokesman, Seng Soth, said that he could not comment on the participation of women in protests and negotiations, but said that there were “no evictions” in Cambodia.

MOST VIEWED

  • South Korea’s first lady brings hope to ill boy

    South Korea’s first lady Kim Keon-hee – wife of current president of the Republic of Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol – met with a 14-year-boy with congenital heart disease during her trip to the Kingdom for the ASEAN Summit. After their meeting it was announced that the

  • Hun Sen gets Covid, shuns G20, APEC summits

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said he has tested positive for Covid-19 in Indonesia, where he is slated to attend the G20 summit in his capacity of the ASEAN chair. In a social media post addressing the Cambodian public, he said: “Before leaving Cambodia, I always

  • Moody’s sets outlook rating to ‘negative’ for Cambodia

    US global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc on November 15 announced that it downgraded Cambodia’s outlook from “stable” to “negative” and maintained its B2 local and foreign currency issuer ratings. “The negative outlook reflects a deteriorating external position as illustrated by the severe

  • Hun Sen’s Covid infection caused by ‘weakened antibody’ after summit

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said exhaustion from heavy workload before and during the recent ASEAN Summit may have led to him contracting Covid-19 due to his weakened immune system, while rejecting speculations that the infection was caused by leaders of some countries who did not

  • Korean first lady paves way for ill boy’s surgery

    A 14-year-old boy with congenital heart disease who was lucky enough to meet with South Korean first lady Kim Keon-hee may get the chance of a lifetime and receive surgery and treatment at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea. After seeing his plight, many

  • Kingdom’s rice crowned world’s No1

    Cambodia’s Phka Rumduol jasmine variety has been crowned the World’s Best Rice for the fifth time at the TRT (The Rice Trader) World Rice Conference in Phuket, Thailand on November 17, according to leaders of the Kingdom’s apex rice industry body. Phka Rumduol