Don't Let Women Down
Culture is barrier for me during my mission. I have not been allowed to observe the National Assembly’s plenary session if I do not dress long skirt as Khmer traditional skirt. As my duty working as journalist and observer, it’s not easy and comfortable for female journalist like me to wear long skirt that sometimes I need to run or rush to interview Parliamentarian or government official.
Other challenge is that I used to be censured and mocked by some of male Parliamentarians from ruling party when I raised my concern over absent of members of parliament from opposition party in workshop and I asked question like how to separate Parliamentarian’s duty from member of the party to work and make decision independently not overload by the party in workshop, held at National Assembly palace in 2009. They thought that my question was kind of the serious one and seem attack bad view for them. At that time, their feedback made down, fear and embarrassed. I really wanted to go home or other place from the earth. I felt so confused because many pair of eyes looked at me in strange meaning. I never ever met such kind of situation that was only caused by asking question. Meanwhile, I was a fourth year student, I just involved in the society and my school, however, is American standard, so students have freedom to ask in every single question during conference or class. That’s why I never realize that some questions might harm and scare me like that. That’s experience made me swear not to ask politic question again with high ranking officials.
Women are not 100% respected and value by men in work environment and decision making. Some of my female colleagues including me feel unhappy and difficult when some of male colleagues used strong words during having discussion with us. For example, for my case, I was criticized by one man in my organization on my speech on radio talk show but the way he did, I think it’s not criticism for development but it is discouragement and lookdown. Beside that he used to use dirty words with me surrounded by other men. The way he sometime talk to me, I think I’m not his colleague but a woman who work in bar. Be honestly, I cried three times whenever he was in sense to say such words to me.
I just can only write about that issue happened to discourage women from asking question in Parliamentary Watch report, report to donor, and broadcast through my organization’s radio talk show to the public. I also want to share to the public that we are so proud for being as woman in Khmer society but some people implemented this culture too strictly. However, for this case, I’m not going to break the National Assembly’s internal rule for observer, I have no choice beside follow the instruction as we already know that egg cannot hit with rock. As woman and young generation, I do need supports and encouragement to highlight my concerns and expressions to the representative, government, or leader to give me a proper and reasonable answer and take action. However, I will not give up to empower myself and other women because of this berriers and will not hesitate to step up for better change for society.
I will share my experience to friends in Pulse Wire by either link to them or add more friends in order to ask for solution especially on culture barrier and dealing with foolish colleague like above I mention. And I trust that they will give me a feedback and at least posting me a similar barrier with possible solution. I will create own community in this Pulse Wire to work make the relationship with friends in PulseWire more closer and better in order to work to produce fruitful and specific answers and solutions.