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

  • CNRP supporters rally in the streets of Tokyo

    Supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Monday rallied on the streets of Tokyo, demanding Prime Minister Hun Sen’s resignation and urging the Japanese government to “save democracy in the Kingdom”. Some 400 protesters in the rally, which was organised by

  • GMAC makes EU plea to consider job losses

    In a statement set to be published on Monday, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) said the EU’s possible withdrawal of Cambodia’s Everything But Arms (EBA) access would harm 750,000 workers and three million families. The GMAC statement, seen by The Post on

  • Four dead in Preah Sihanouk, Ratanakkiri flooding

    At least four people have died and thousands of families affected by flooding in Preah Sihanouk and Ratanakkiri provinces following recent heavy thunderstorms. Preah Sihanouk provincial spokesperson Kheang Phearum said on Sunday that a Cambodian husband and wife were killed on Thursday when a concrete

  • Nat’l Police snubs Rainsy’s claims

    The National Police on Saturday maintained that its chief, Neth Savoeun, and his family had no intention to flee the country after acting president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Sam Rainsy accused Savoeun of corruption. On Friday, Rainsy – who fled to