The kingdom of Cambodia enjoys a national holiday on International Women’s Day each year. Even though over 50% of the population in this Southeast Asian country consists of women, much less than 50% of the nation’s resources, wealth and voice are shared with them. While the scenario of women has improved considerably from the way it used to be, equal rights in terms of education and job opportunities are still far from being achieved. For most, International Women’s Day in Cambodia is about the issues that are prevalent in the society. Non-governmental institutions, schools, student associations and other activist groups take up a wide range of activities in order to support the large numbers of women being subjugated to violence and injustice.
Schools organise debates, writing contests and other group activities to educate and bring awareness to the youth besides encouraging respect towards women. Fund raisers are organised by some institutions, groups and organisations to raise money and support in kind for impoverished women and non-governmental bodies working towards a better present and future for women. There are outreach programs, plays and events where group members and volunteers join hands to raise awareness and end domestic violence and abuse in rural and semi urban areas. Human and land rights activists organise visit to women in prison, protest marches, rallies and demonstrations. Buddhists organise and lead peace walks through red light districts.
For women in Cambodia, 8th March is a day on which they demand to be heard, noticed and felt.