Title: Women Walking Silently: The Emergence of Cambodian Women into the Public Sphere
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Author: Kraynanski, Joan M.
Degree: Master of Arts - Southeast Asia Studies, 2007.
Advisor: Elizabeth Fuller Collins
This thesis examines the changing role of Cambodian women as they become engaged in local politics and how the situation of women’s engagement in the public sphere is contributing to a change in Cambodia’s traditional gender regimes. I examine the challenges for and successes of women engaged in local politics in Cambodia through interviews and observation of four elected women commune council members. Cambodian’s political culture, beginning with the post-colonial period up until the present, has been guided by strong centralized leadership, predominantly vested in one individual. The women who entered the political system from the commune council elections of 2002 address a political philosophy of inclusiveness and cooperation. The guiding organizational philosophy of inclusiveness and cooperation is also evident in other women centered organizations that have sprung up in Cambodia since the early 1990s. My research looks at how women’s role in society began to change during the Khmer Rouge years, 1975 to 1979, and has continued to transform, for some a matter of necessity, while for others a matter of choice.
Cambodia; Women; Local Politics; Transformation of Gender Regimes
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