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Injustice for Women: Spending Almost Her Whole Life for family

Women were in blog of the Cambodian culture from ancient time to the present and have multi duties to response comparing to men, who have only few things to do basically on finding income for family and to be named “family leader”. Some of women spend almost their lives to support husband and children’s living and they sometimes also earn income to support the whole family with naming “women”. Totally, when something happen to family, they were blamed and violated from husband because of any some reasons she did. They are the responsible persons and also the wrongdoing person. Why?
In one family society, we as children need to see the mutual understanding among parents, warm family, and the equity of responsibility of the family’s members. We do not just want to see one person work for the whole family. It’s injustice and means less to responder.
Women like mother have no time to think much more about her beauty, passion for development herself, own future goal for repute herself into society, and doing whatever she favor to do the most.
Sometimes, I ask myself why the men never understand about women’s heart. Maybe they do not put themselves into women’s heart. It makes feel that a woman, I need to challenge so much just only in family.
Phone calling, I was answer to my mom’s call with hearing of crying voice. I asked what happen to you mom? “I was so tired and hurt to wait your dad to finish her doctor degree. I used to wait for him 7 years ago and now 5 year more. Even he has one more year to finish but sometimes I could not be patient anymore. We spend much than he earn, he spend almost the thing have less before. I feel that your dad is not loyalty with me. He might have someone else with him because he changes a lot now”.
I start crying as I know that she is right about my dad. I do know something is happen irregular to her life now but I could not tell her the trust about that. I exactly know that she cannot accept the case of my father. So, what should I do? I can only tell what is contrast from my mind that “Oh come on mom, dad is ok, he’s just busy with his study. He will be back soon and we will have happy family”. How pity she is. After talked her, I was just curious what is my mom has been doing wrong?
Kampong Cham, the province where far from the city, is the place where My mom lives with 2 grand daughters and adopted son. She is waiting to see my dad come back from the Phnom Penh, Cambodian Capital city, after he gets his doctor degree. She supported the family’s financial including father and brother’s school fees, stipends and perdium since I was born until I was in 14 years old. My mom has 10 years breaks from earning the income as my dad is the one who responsible for it. But about 5 years to now is the one who save money for husband and children. It’s not easy for her that always does anything for family but nothing for herself. For example, she dare not spend on repairing her teeth which cost 2 000$ but she openly and happy to give such big money to pay for my dad’s stipend as he took 100$ per week.
In 57 years old, she has no much more time for her entire life to do sometimes she wish to do for personal, to join social activities, to involve in politics, and to do sometimes that bring benefit to society. These huge responsibilities make her mind narrow down. Her duties are to make the family live in harmony, family together (no divorce), to be a good facilitator among family member, and good saver to make family survive longer by spend less for her needs. But what my mom serve back from family is hiring her difficulties in head because do not know where she can find the solution, living separately from her children, and get blaming mostly by my dad and my brother sometimes.
The obligations that limited the women’s works from being out of the box by social pressure, old thought, and value not equally to men and women, women will not have time to dream about building her capacity, put herself into the country’s decision making, part of the country developer.
I, her daughter and the new generation, would like to promote my right as women to enjoy in social work, turn my voice up, express my words to claim for equality and gender, show the world about my decision, and reduce the social discrimination. I want to share a responsibility to my future husband to let him know how many difficulties that woman face for face. It’s not only the work to save the money, but also to please and look after all family members. I need to achiever my dream a potential political leader so I need time, and everything to reach me there.
Article 8 of the Human Right on Women states that The United Nations shall place no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs.
The statistic of women in politics, 2011, is in the National Assembly, women hold only 27 out of 123 seats or 21%; whereas in the senate, women hold 8 out of 61 seats or 13.1% of the total .That’s mean that women has small among of position if compare to the men. It still need to be more empower and comprise more to have sustainable number among male and female in the country’s decision makers.
However, the environment, surround the women, is really important to power and encourage the women including me to move forward.
In Cambodia, during a leading by Khmer Rouge regime and the ensuing disruption of civil war extended into the 1990s, there left a lots poor and illiterate people. Lack of education greatly inhibits women’s understanding of their rights to equality and protection under the law. This can make them vulnerable to repeated cycles of domestic violence and abuse.
Base on LICADHO report of Women Situation in 2004, it is estimated that 50% of rural women are illiterate and have not completed primary school education. It can also make it very hard for rural women to break out of the poverty cycle by finding off-farm employment in non-exploitative trades. Another serious problem that affects rural women is ill health and disability. This severely impairs rural women’s capacity to work and support their families.
When women are household, most of them are farmer, among 90% of Cambodian population. So, the economic growth is also effected them especially to the rural women whose life base on the agriculture products. So their income would be caused. Women will start thinking about travel from the homeland to the town to seek for job to support the family. The immigration faces so many troubles for women’s health, security and lives.
On the other hand, one of the good reasons for believing that this is true is the fact that most of the people affected by the worst climatic disasters that have happened over the past few years are poor and in their vast majority women. For example, in 2011 voter registration in Cambodia, women were more likely to protect the family and children from flooded in earlier Sept to Oct 2011 which is the period for Cambodian citizens to check and register to vote in coming up Commune Council Election in 2012. Base on informal report of COMFREL, only %of female voters went to check and register on this period.
All in all, women should be power and inspire to what equal right among family. The women themselves also try to build up the capacity to find a place to express voices and concern over the violation against women. Women have to be strong in all circumstances in order to fight for fairness. We do love the family but it is not mean that only women have to get full tasks on this. Women are very good in patience and critical analysis. So, it is good to have women in some various positions in government section and country’s decision making. Women will promote and protect women from social discrimination.

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future a program of World Pulse that provides rigorous new media and citizen journalism training for grassroots women leaders. World Pulse lifts and unites the voices of women from some of the most unheard regions of the world.


nasreenamina's picture

Hi, I like your post because

Hi, I like your post because not only show how important are mother in our lives, as testimony and witness of our history, also shows how patriarchy affects our daily life in order to set the challenges to us and states the way we have to live and what we can expect. I am glad daugthers are taking in charge the changing of the society. Is the best way to honour what our moms did in our behalf

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

ikirimat's picture

Great women (you and mum)

Indeed women bear a lot for their families , children and husbands, yet they are less appreciated. Thank you for bearing with your mum you are great.
One day at a time, women will achieve

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."

I really enjoyed your ideas about how to change women's situations in your country towards the end of your article--very good job at being solutions oriented. I would have liked to have heard more about how your mother's situation is turning out. One quick note, you may want to make sure you identify what countries your statistics are referring to. I think some of them are global and some of them are specific to Cambodia, yes? Keep up the good work!

Good job!


"In every human heart there are a few passions that last a lifetime. They're with us from the moment we're born, and nothing can dilute their intensity." Rob Brezny

Ofalla's picture


Dear lymalin,
I am very touched by your article. My heart goes out to you and your mom and all the women and men of Cambodia. The system you describe sounds like it is limiting for everyone: women cannot discover themselves and develop their gifts and men can never explore the softer sides of themselves. Everyone is locked into a pre-determined roles. I live in Minnesota where there are many Cambodian families. I see many Cambodian women in the workforce, but I do not know about how responsibilities are shared at home. Your vision for more equality between genders is a very good one, and can happen, as it did in my country, the USA. I was part of the women's movement and in my lifetime have seen many many opportunities open to my daughters that I could not have enjoyed. They have been successful in their careers and are good athletes and good partners to their husbands and good mothers to their children. My son knows how to cook, bake bread, and change a diaper. It can happen in Cambodia, too, probably step by step and you can be part of that process of change by speaking up as you have done so well in this assignment.
Best wishes,

I wrote of something similar in my own Frontline Journal. It is sad to see when women, particularly of the precious generation, have given so much of their life towards the development of their husbands and their children. In the end, if the man of the house passes away or leaves her, she is helpless. Not helpless in the sense that she does not have strength but her capacity to earn is drastically diminished because she has spent most of her life at home.

Thank you for sharing this piece, I encourage you to continue writing.

I would love to know more about how you feel now as the next generation? What would you do differently? Would you need to provide care to your mother? How is the society in Cambodia structured to allow women the support in their home activities but allow them to earn a decent living?

I am excited to know more of your society and how they address this challenge.



WILDKat's picture

Represented and True

You write, "The statistic of women in politics, 2011, is in the National Assembly,
women hold only 27 out of 123 seats or 21%; whereas in the senate,
women hold 8 out of 61 seats or 13.1% of the total."

Now to right the wrong of being vastly underrepresented and mis represented...
I commend to you the movie Miss Representation by Jennifer Siebol Newsom.

Naturally grateful,
Kat Haber

"Know thyself." ~ Plato

amiesissoho's picture

Support your mother but

Support your mother but follow your dream not to fall into the same situation, that is how change can take place. Individual decision about how men and women related extends to collective responsibility for social change.
Hugs the courage to speak out


rozjean's picture

Dear lymalin, Before action

Dear lymalin,
Before action can take place, awareness of the problems to be remedied must be developed, and you have that awareness. I agree that education is of prime importance in helping women realize their potential. The more women are educated and venture outside the home, the more opportunity they will have for slowly (because it does take time!) effecting change. I hope that as they make the journey, women can remain the nurturing people we depend upon for a more humane, gentle world.
Warm wishes,

MaDube's picture

Dear Lymalin

The very beginning of your story made me very sad because it reiterated something that many women globally are doing; that is to live their lives for other people and never for themselves. Your mother is a selfless individual yes and she sacrificed a lot so your father and brother could finish their education even to the extent that she could not do her own hair. From your story I gather that now your father, with his success is not treating your mother well. I have heard similar stories many times in my country as well and I wish there was a way of making sure that young girls worldwide grow up knowing that there is need to keep a balance between caring for others and showing others concern and taking care of themselves. It is good to have women in decision making processes but I believe the strength to occupy those positions begins at home. If women do not make decisions that are in their best interests in their own homes, this limits the chances of them making decisions that promote their interests in the public sphere. I am glad that you have identified this problem and you and others in the younger generations can begin to change the fate of women.



Hin Kunthea's picture

Hi malin, Your super Mum

I understand you and your mother situation. I really proud to see you are strong. 4 year ago, my father used to betray my mother, he has a young women outside,and he try to hid with telling a lie sever time, finally it was true. My mother really upset and they used to be in the quarrel many times.As a daughter, I really worry when my mother called to me and let me know about that. It is the relationship that I could not stand still, I went to visit them in the province and find out the truth, I could not sleep properly at night, because a of of thing come to my mind. I wrote a long letter to my farther instead of talking directly, because I did not know how to talk to him, and he would feel embarrass too. I try to motivate him telling him to give up and tune him to see how beauty of harmony family was. At that time I was 6 month pregnant. He would see his grand son soon..... I know that at that time he addict with the photography film. I let him know that, that was not his mistake , human being always did something wrong in their life. I told him that I really respect him and love him, and respect his choice ..... he always a good father to me. Mother sometime mean to him because she love her husband. She really a good wife which always think about family. She spend all her life for working to support family.

I know that this letter is really effective, my father did not talk any thing, but I could feel that he had change, He became to love the family. I know that it is not his mistake, it is because he feel lonely , lack of love, no one care him... or no one encourage him to do a good thing .

So communication and connection and is really important, I try to visit him and altogether with the family to shear our joy to gather , to make him feel safe and respect . Now we forgot every bad memory and we thing about our future. Find any activity that we can do together like Buddhism ceremony ......

I think that peaceful solution is always success. When the problem come out try to stay close to them find way to communicate respectfully and openly.

Good Girl....


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