I want them to gain knowledge about their world, their society and what is right and wrong


Shifting norms in the 21st Century: seven stories of how the next generation of advocates are fighting gender-based violence. Credit: Songhour Thav and Bank Vath

Sivgech Tang, 24
Community Host, Impact Hub Phnom Penh, Cambodia

There is a Cambodian proverb: “A man is gold; a woman is a white piece of cloth.” The implication is that gold (men) can be made clean and shiny if dropped in mud, but the cloth (women) is stained and ruined. This saying mirrors the sentiment of generations in our country’s society and their view on female sexuality. This portrayal of women’s sexuality is one example of how women often lack their sexual rights and autonomy.

To me, a gender-equal world means equal rights for all, including sexual rights and autonomy, access to education and a safe space for everyone. I’m from Cambodia where the social norm encourages the notion that men are more privileged than women. I’m calling for immediate action to help shift this view in our society. It is due to this societal belief that women are at a disadvantage in life and are often victims of gender-based violence.

I believe that if women have economic independence, they will have the capability and resources to steer away from gender-based violence. I also believe that if women have a safe space to share their experiences, they will have the potential to build a network where they will realize they’re not alone and others share their feelings and situations.

Another key factor in a gender-equal world to me is education for girls and women. I want them to gain knowledge about their world, their society and what is right and wrong. I want them to be decision-makers and have the freedom to make decisions about their own lives financially, emotionally and physically.

I’m now 24 years old, born and raised in Cambodia and I do not feel like this is a big ask - I would like a world full of fairness where everyone is seen as gold.

Learn more about Sivgech Tang

Sivgech has engaged in women’s economic empowerment and women’s entrepreneurship sectors over the past three years. Currently, she is working on supporting and connecting startup alumni to different opportunities. She has a strong belief that regardless of the gender barrier, opportunity is equally for everyone and for a world full of fairness. Despite gender differences, everyone is all seen as gold.




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