24 March 2016
“Before you stand for the women you must know the women..”
Our Ride for Rights team have wrapped up their inspiring journey in Cambodia, where they visited the UN Women Cambodia office and met with people who are working hard to build brighter futures for women and girls in their region.
Wenny Kusama, Country Director for UN Women Cambodia, spoke with the team about UN Women’s work ending poverty and advancing women’s human rights in a place with so much need and opportunity. She told them, “life is a river, and it doesn’t take much to disrupt the flow. Any initiative that we take to advance gender equality and women’s human rights has a ripple effect.”
Thanks to your support, UN Women Cambodia has launched multiple initiatives that take a long-term view to advancing gender equality and operate on multiple levels. UN Women is in a unique position to collect and tailor best practices from work in nearly 100 countries worldwide. The Cambodian office works to ensure these practices are customised to address the concerns of Cambodian women, particularly focusing on domestic violence and labour laws for women.This year, UN Women Cambodia initiated a first-ever women’s film festival over International Women’s Day (IWD) 2016, featuring women directors and actors, to enable women to share their voices and perspectives.
In addition to their own life-changing programs, UN Women Cambodia works with numerous activist groups who are working to foster change within their communities. The Ride for Rights team met with many passionate advocates for women’s rights during their visit, including members of ActionAid, groups working to advance gender equality through school-based programs from primary schools to universities, as well as an organisation teaching domestic workers about their rights, services available to them, such as counselling and work on ending violence against women.
Before ending their visit, the Ride for Rights team spoke with Mr Srun Srorn, of CAMASEAN, a group working to protect human rights with particular emphasis on the rights of LGBTIQ people. He explained that, “before you stand for the women you must know the women — such as those who we cannot see, such as those in prison, or sex workers.
Changing cultural norms takes time, but we are seeing change through some initiatives such as women’s and LGBTIQ sports teams, infusing important social change messages through the arts, through hotlines providing instant access to information about sexual and reproductive health and rights information and information about women’s safety, and the documentation of human rights violations.
We see the change every day… activists, in order to be sustained, must have hope.”
Want to see the work of UN Women first-hand? A second Ride for Rights adventure is now being planned for Northern Vietnam in March 2017. Register now for the adventure of a lifetime.