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Day of Mary F. Scranton
  • October 08, 2016

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  • September 25, 2015

AdvocacyVIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

December 12, 2016

Roma Ejaz Ul Din, Scranton Scholar of Kinnaird College in PakistanViolence against women is a worldwide, yet still hidden problem. Freedom from the threat of harassment, battering, and sexual assault is a concept that most of us have a hard time imagining because violence is such a deep part of our cultures and our lives. Violence against women is woven into the fabric of society to such an extent that many of us who are victimized feel that we are at fault. But near me violence against women means or an opposite word is women. Till day women are dominated by the society, in the working place, or in the house by their family members. Every form of violence threatens the women and limits their ability to make choices regarding their lives. Sexual violence is particularly insidious because sexual acts are ordinarily and rightly a source of pleasure and communication. It is often unclear to a woman who has been victimized and to society as a whole whether a sexual violation was done out of sexual desire or violent intent. Thirty years ago, violence against women is hidden under a cloak of silence or acceptance. As more and more women talked with each other in the recent wave of the women's movement, it becomes apparent that violence against women’s occurs on a massive scale, that no woman is immune, and that family, friends, and public institutions have been cruelly insensitive about it. But over the past thirty years, women have mobilized to offer direct services to those who have encountered violence, to educate people about the range and nature of male violence against women, and to develop strategies for change. In accordance to some studies in Pakistan every hour two wives are beaten up. But now a days so many NGOs working for the development of women’s in developing country like Pakistan. For instance a case of Zahida ParveenZahida Perveen's husband accused her of being unfaithful and cut off her nose and ears and gouged out her eyes. The centre helped her go abroad for treatment and to prosecute her husband, who is now serving a 14-year prison sentence. Zahida, who is now blind, appreciated the support, but tells Nahida (social worker) that she feels the sentence was far too lenient. But she says That I've gone through so many problems, so this is not enough for him.On the other side, some political parties in Pakistan also stand against the violence on women, required to protect women and children from domestic violence. A place which is considered as the heaven for women actually became hell for her. Most of the cases of abuse go unnoticed or unreported just because of the people around discourage the victim and stops her to go to the police as it is matter of her marital life. Another major reason of domestic violence is the male dominating society and the attitude of males towards their female family member. If we want to eliminate all these problems we had to empower our women. In today’s world most important point is that family should also educate their male members to respect women and should treat them as a human being as they taught their daughter how to behave. From the religious point of view Christ has set us free from his holy blood, and all human creatures are born free, so no one is in the world who are born slave, so why the society is dominating women’s. 

AdvocacyWomen! Live your life proudly!

December 08, 2016

Gemma Labagan, Scranton Scholar of Southern Philippines Methodist Colleges in Philippines“Fearless, Strong, Special, Queen and Influential.” These are some of the words that best describe to a woman. Women have an intrinsic power that can be seen in our personality. A unique personality can contribute for the making a better world. This power we have is very influential to the lives of every living thing that live here on earth. Sadly, too many women don’t know about this power that we have. Instead, women are consumed by the power of exploitation. Our society became cruel because of the absence of human rights especially to women. Women’s right has become anonymous to those who abuse and take advantage to women. “Right to be respected, right to be recognized, right to live well and right to speak up and be heard.” These are some rights of women that are seems to be hidden inside the box. I am a small girl. There were really times that I have experienced and witnessed the unfairness of life. I must say it has something to do with me being a small but most of the reason is because I am a woman. One time, while I was travelling from church going to our dormitory with a tricycle (kind of motorcycle) the driver got curious as to what did I do from the church. I told him that I was invited to have a testimony in front of church members. And I was surprised on what he said to me. He told me that women should not be allowed to speak publicly because women are reflections of weakness. People should not rely on women because women are not strong enough to be lean on. He even used passages from the bible to which I hardly understand because my mind was already occupied by discouragement and fear. Discouraged because he told me those things and it’s my first time to speak up and share my life story as a young woman who entered in ministry. Fear, because I was afraid that he is out of his mind, and that he was just trying to corner me and do something to me. Finally, I was able to reach the dormitory safely but I feel down. I then started to think, is it true that women can only be a listener that women should just really sit and keep their mouth shut. I know then that I just experienced the cruelty of judgement and unfairness to a woman’s heart. A simple act of violence that is hard to notice. An emotional abused. How many of us are experiencing like this every day?  Does our society really know that women’s existence is far beyond being just a mother, a wife and a human? Does our society really know that women’s right is not just to protect our lives as women alone but to protect the entire human race because women are the one who really know and understand the true essence of life?Now that I am already a full time deaconess, my courage and confidence became stronger as I speak, either to deliver a sermon, testimony or give lectures. I learned from that day through meditations and prayers that women should not be deprived on expressing her thoughts. The rates of women being abused are high because women can’t be heard. Women can’t speak up and fight for what they think and believed. Women’s mouths are sealed with fear, pain and discouragement. To what extent are we going to live for it? Let’s forget the status quo of men and women in a society. Let women be heard and speak up. Let’s give more meaning to our task as empowered women and to empower others. Let us not be a light only in a home, but let us be the foundation. Let us not only be a flower in plant but let us be the roots. Let us not only be a princess but let us be the queen. Women! Live life to the fullest by speaking up and be heard. 

AdvocacyAct, Show and Prove!

December 07, 2016

Jeannette Josephine Mintardjo, Scranton Scholar of Duta Wacana University in IndonesiaI believe in overcoming violence and I think it is not naive to believe in it. I’m also aware that this has something to do with gender roles in my society. The classifications of rights and responsibilities through the perspectives of strong and superior male impacts the way my “world” treated women and it is not okay to stay constant with this worldview. I happened to face violence physically and also through verbal communication in my daily life at home that eventually lead me to what I believe as women’s rights. I remembered clearly that one morning I woke up with my papa yelling at me. He was mad because me and my sister woke up late by half an hour than we are supposed to. He said that it was, it is, and it always will be our responsibility to make sure everything is clean and perfect in the house. “I would not see my daughter doing nothing while there’s even a single dirty plate on the table or a single dirty shirt lying on the floor!” Those rules, does not apply to any of our brothers. There was no excuse even for schoolwork. Somehow we have to manage ourselves. It does not mean that my papa does not love their daughters. But he clearly divides us, daughters and sons, by our gender. When the day is rough, my papa would throw things at me and my sister if we put our study first than our house-work. My brother gets along with this idea and said to us “there is no use for both of you to study hard. You will become wives and serve us men”. My sister and I, we were disparate and long for something to rescue us from this worldview. We were eager to learn and build social network through church also school. But we do not have the time. It was always never enough to do all the house-work and school-work at the same time. We envy our brothers. We decided that this verbal violence that we get throughout the day would not determine our future. It is only if we heal our past that we shall be able to build the future, as difficult and time-consuming though this may be. We would not let ourselves believe in those hurtful words, where we as young women were seen as people in the second level, a not-so-important people. We started to change our vocabulary in responding to the attitudes that were shown to us at home. Where we were labeled “useless”, we told ourselves and our family that we are “helpful” and eager to learn. We started to study hard in our spare time about our strength and weaknesses. My sister is best at dancing and psychology. She put a huge effort to show our parents how she shines bright in those fields. I, myself, love to read and study theology also environmental science. I showed my parents how to reduce and recycle more papers and plastics, reduce the use of warm-water when it is not needed, in the light of environmental science and its correlation to the meaning of human participation in caring for the citizen of the world. These efforts, these non-violence resistances, pay off! My papa lessen his hurtful words to me and my sister and rather encourage me, my sister and brothers to help each other in doing house-work, even to study together for school. Through my study in the fifth semester at college, I read about the challenge of heteronormativity in our society, where gender roles of men and women are seen to be natural roles in life. This idea challenge all of society level where there are so many anomaly out there that these gender roles harm and degrade the capabilities of women, the participation of women to make this world all better living. And we, as women and men in this whole new perspective of stopping violence against women, should tell more stories about non-violence resistance. It is only by non-violence resistance that we are able to see our dream comes true, the elimination of violence against women. It is only by believing in resistance to violence even violence “for good cause” that we are able to define women’s rights to participate in social change. We need to start changing our vocabulary in responding to violence. From my perspective, it starts from the family, where the non-violent conflict resolution is something fundamental and is the heart of women’s rights. If a woman cannot be safe in her own house, then she cannot be expected to feel safe anywhere. 

AdvocacyRemember Your Value!

December 06, 2016

Kristine Joy M. Martinez, Scranton Scholar of Trinity University of Asia in Philippines“She is more precious than jewels and nothing you desire can compare with her”  -  Proverbs 3:15This verse clearly states that women regardless of her stand in life, rich or poor, jobless or with a job, single or married, as long as she has everything to be a woman, should be valued. Back then, women are often considered as slaves, housewives whose duty is just to serve their family.  Well, it isn’t easy to change tradition overnight. Women from the past suffered from violence, they have their mouth for them to speak but words wouldn’t come out because the society won’t allow them to. Their voices left unheard, their eyes remain shut and even their body became paralyzed. Thanks to the shifts in labor force and movement which led to changes in the attitudes of women at work, allowing for the revolution which resulted in equal opportunity and rights to career and even in politics irrespective of gender. When it comes to matters regarding sexuality, women have the right to control over and decide freely. It is said that equal relationships between men and women includes full respect for the integrity of the person, it requires mutual respect, consent and shared responsibility for sexual behavior and its consequences. Women’s rights are clearly defined in the law, even on textbooks we can see and appreciate how safe and reassuring it is and how much they value us, women. We can’t deny the fact that it is perfectly written, but the question is, do they value us as much as the book values us? Those written law can defend us in due process but does the law enforcers ready to protect and save us from violence and impending doom? I’m in my 20’s, no boyfriend since birth. The reason would be that almost all guys who would approach me wanted to have sex first. I know being liberated is “in” in today’s society, I’m not against it but I’d say I’m not following today’s trend. We can’t say yes to everything. Women have a weak spot and even weak-hearted but that doesn’t give permission to the opposite sex to abuse and use their power on us. We may fall from their trap and even be tempted sometimes.  Just because we are a woman, we can let them. Think twice, if he’s not respecting you today, he’s not going to respect you tomorrow or even in the future. A woman deserves the respect that a man receives too. No more, no less. And besides, not having a boyfriend doesn’t make you less of a woman. In addition to, what help me overcome such tempting situation was the guilt feelings and the consequences afterwards. Regret comes after, learn how to say no. Another important factor would be the love that you receive from your family. If you aren’t receiving the love from them, you are prone to seeking love from others which can lead you not into genuine love but to sexual relationships and can eventually lead into violence. Violence against Women is a worldwide phenomenon.  It comes in different forms. Whatever that is, violence will always be violence. Due to the sensitivity of the issues and its impact on women and their families, many cases of violence against women often go unreported. Where there are no mechanisms and infrastructure for relief and assistance, victim are simply left to suffer their fate. None of us can change the world by ourselves, but with efforts from each and every one of us doing a little can make a real difference. Know your value. Educate yourself. Know your rights. Embrace them. Support organizations. Join them. Be an advocate. Speak out. Spread awareness.  Don’t lose hope. We should never give up because God doesn’t give up on us. 

AdvocacyHear the Cry of Women under Oppression!

December 05, 2016

Yex Nang Shwe Rong, Scranton Scholar of Myanmar Institute of Theology in MyanmarWomen bear the world. They are the mother of the world. If there is no woman, there will be no any existence. We all are born by woman. Women have been dominated by men for years. They had no chance to lead their communities. Women are considered only as subordinate for men. Women aid in cooking, washing and hospitability but they are not considered as a decision makers, managers and leader. Women have been oppressed in various fields such as in family, education, religion, occupation, and also in many culture and even in some proverbs or sayings. Women are considered as unsuitable to be ruler or leader especially when it comes to politic. Women are also considered unclean, especially because of their menstrual cycle. This is so even today in many cultures. Even in census of the family and in the national identity card (here in Myanmar) only father is a leader of the family and only the father’s name is mentioned. The value of women’s education decline, they have to leave school because of poverty of their family. But male can continue their education. They believe that male will become a leader of their family, he will earn a lot of money. He is only the hope for the family. He will also be a father and husband. Woman can depend on her husband when she gets married. So, she no needs to be educated. She just needs to try to be a good house wife. Male and female are the same; they should have equal chance because both may have their aims. Everyone should have the right to fulfill his/ her aims or dreams.When we observe many religions, we can see that women have been oppressed. Every religion is good but the followers and some religious rules consider women as inferior. Women were also considered as a burden in the family as parents had to give huge dowries to marry them off. A woman was more or less slave of her husband, both physically and spiritually. Her salvation was possible only through devotion to her husband. When a husband died the women was expected to jump into his funeral pyre and be burned to death. We may face many challenges against our cultures, religious rules. We no need to ignore their voice. Women can manage and do the housework well and also can lead the community well. Some women hinder to go out and work because of children. She has to admonish her children to live and stray in the right path. In many advertisements, women were used to attract men. It is time to wake up! We should not live any longer in behind the man. Women are not only for cooking behind (in the kitchen); it is time to speak in front of the public. We must try to liberate from these oppression. We must show and prove that we, women can do it. We, women must have aim and try to fulfill that aim. We must have desire to develop ourselves and women’s role. We must have vision and try to put it into practice. We must update our knowledge and talents. We must be courageous and brave to proclaim or discuss in meeting. Some women keep silent and some are even knitting in meeting or discussion. Come on! Let’s our God’s name be glorify more and more by our deeds. Women hope to liberate from these oppressions. Women, even men those who are trying to against women’s oppression and women’s violence and fight for women’s right are called Feminists. Some are deaf to hear women’s voice and ignore them. Women just need equal rights. We are also human beings. 

AdvocacyDo not be afraid to be underestimated!

December 05, 2016

Devina Wiyono, Scranton Scholar of Petra Christian University in IndonesiaWomen's right is freedom for a woman to choose, act, dream, work and being anything according to what they want without limit. Decades ago, the tradition in my country Indonesia, women were not permitted to go to school, only men were permitted. Women should stay in the house taking care of the household. Women also were not permitted to appear more dominant than men (like join organization). It ultimately affects women social status, women seen as lower class; until a woman named R.A. Kartini stand up for women’s rights. She was a daughter of a nobleman. Inspired by Netherlands’ culture, she founded First School for women in Indonesia.Nowadays, as a woman, there are no limits for me to dream and take action. Therefore, during the university, I let myself to step into roles and activities that generally for men. One of the examples was I tried to get myself elected to become fellowship’s leader in my major. I encourage myself to run as a leader. However, the previous leader wasn’t convinced and asked me to reconsider my decision. It was obvious that the previous leader prefer my competitor who is man. According to him, male is more likely to be better speaker and do a better job than women. He was afraid if the leader were not man than it will affect badly on the program.It is a fact that I was not a better speaker than my competitor. But I didn’t stay silent and resign to my situation. I realize that it was my calling. I saw a lot of problems with the program and I wanted to get involved and try to fix it. I have a vision and mission that I want to implement over the next one year. At first faced with a lot of problems, I started to give up, but God gave me strength to continue. He gave me confidence to continue with the election. Finally when the Election Day came, I was chosen to become fellowship’s leader in my major.I think there are no barriers and challenges that we can’t overcome as women to achieve our dreams. Sometimes, we build our own obstacle with fear and low self-esteem. Stop over thinking. If we think we can’t do it then we will never be able to do it. Do not be afraid to be underestimated; turn it into fuel to reach your dream. If we want equality with men, first we have to learn to respect ourselves. 

AdvocacyIs It Better to Be a Man?

December 02, 2016

Nguyen Thi Hong Ha, Scranton Scholar of Hue University College of Foreign Languages in VietnamI was born to be a female. During the time of growing up, I have witnessed various cases of disparities between men and women, and I often ask myself: “What eventually are the women’s rights?” To my mind, it should be wrapped up in four words: “to be treated equally”. Women’s rights are not something big; it is simply the society’s recognition and respect for women - anything regarding women and from women. It can be the respect for females’ physical and emotional states, the proper recognition of their achievements, or the support for women in any position in the family and society. However, in Vietnam, where I live and other Asian countries affected by Confucian, the things called “women’s rights” and “gender equality” are still far from reality. The story I am about to tell below will reveal how that reality looks like.Gender stereotype is still overwhelming in almost all families in our community. I was born in a nuclear family, including my parents, my older brother and I. My father always thought that only a boy in a family would live with his parents for the whole life, and a girl would eventually be the daughter of other people because sooner or later she would get married and leave out. Therefore, my brother always received much love and care from my parents. At that time, I wondered: “IS IT BETTER TO BE A MAN?”When I grew up and was mature enough, I realized that I should do something to change my position in my family and I do not accept to hide under the shadow of my brother anymore, so I determined to study very well in the school. As knowledge is power, I believe that the voice of a woman anywhere in the family and society will be very valuable if she is educated. In 2014, I received a fully-funded scholarship, namely Erasmus Mundus to study in Sweden as an exchange student and two years later I was a participant of the Scranton Scholar Leadership Program in South Korea. For what I have successfully performed, my parents gradually changed their viewpoint that not only boys bring happiness to the family, but also girls are the people they can take pride in. It seems that I have done a good deed, but it is not. Everything is just a first step for a challenging journey ahead. Our society is full of gender imbalance, and a discrimination-free work environment is something female workers still long for. After graduation, I applied for some companies. However, most job announcements have this chunk of words in bold and brackets: “priority for men”. However, it is not all. In the interview, the recruiters keep asking me private questions. “Do you have a boyfriend, when will you get married, what is your plan after you settle down, and will you have babies right after that?”. At that moment, I wonder whether I would be asked such questions if I were a guy. And once again, I ask myself: “IS IT BETTER TO BE A MAN?” I totally understand that the maternity leave strongly affects the benefit of companies. Nevertheless, while women quit job, stay and home, endure the painfulness of giving birth and hardship of children upbringing, where those companies put the position of males in a family. If they had known this, they wouldn’t have asked women candidates such questions.I am not the only one story. There are countless of others. Physical and sexual violence, emotional and economic abuse, child marriage... Thousands of unfairness still exist in the world we are living. Women have the right to live for themselves, and it is the basic human right. For that reason, it women ourselves would be the people who break the cycle of violence and gender gap. To make that goal achievable, first and foremost, women have to recognize the importance of themselves and believe in their capabilities. Only when our belief is consolidated will we have motivation to inspire others, and the great values deserve to be made it pervasive. Fortunately, there are many activities and campaigns that have been initiated recently to support the women’s rights. For instance, the Heforshe campaign of UN Women, which calls for the participation of men and boys to take action against the inequality faced by women and girls. Or the most recently, the project “Who wash dishes today” arranged by Y-Change organization in Vietnam to encourage men to share the housework with women in families. Beyonce, in her essay about gender quality also saying that:      Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another. So why are we viewed as less than equal? These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.With such efforts of the whole society to promote the women’s rights, we can totally believe in a bright future where gender stereotype will surely disappear. Our responsibility is STAND UP, SPEAK OUT, JOIN HANDS, TAKE ACTION, FIGHT FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS and then IT WOULD BE BETTER TO BE A WOMAN.   

AdvocacyRaising Voice as "ONE"

November 30, 2016

Gayathri R. Menon, Scranton Scholar of Union Christian College in India“I speak not for myself, but for those without voice” said Malala Yousafzai, the youngest ever Nobel prize laureate. She’s a symbol of how young girls and women, across the world have to struggle to win her rights and dream of better world where they could live freely. Violence against women is worldwide, yet still hidden problem. Every form of violence threatens all women and limits our ability to make choices about our lives. So it’s important that women, fight for this cause as ‘One,’ raising their ‘Voice as One.’ Women’s rights are essentially the rights that promote a position of legal and social equality of women with men. Tracing through history, we always find that women are always subjected to extreme prejudices and injustices only because they’re born as ‘a woman’! What we faced were the atrocities of a patriarchal society, which oppressed women and their rights. As the famous saying goes, “women’s rights are human rights ” which means women around the world are entitled to all these rights but, women and girls are still denied of them, simply because of their gender. Essentially women’s rights as put forth by the United Nations include the right to live, free from slavery and discrimination; to be educated; to own property; to vote; and to earn a fair and equal wage.To belong to a country with such diversity of culture and people as in India are a proud thing but it’s the same ‘India’ which has often seen cruel and inhumane practices for the sake of culture.  And the far increasing rates of women being subjected domestic violence and rape are a frightening thought to girls and women in India. The Delhi Gang rape which caught international attention is one amongst them. As a girl, I’ve had experiences wherein there were restrictions about choosing my clothing and how my wishes to travel, career choices were denied due to the only reason of being a girl. A much more disturbing fact was, when, some of my closest friends were denied opportunities to higher education for the sake of marriage. In India, there’s a far more distressing problem of ‘dowry’, a custom still abided by many families. Girls and women are human beings and not animals that are to be bought or sold! These issues can’t be dealt individually and it’s group efforts from both men and women that’ll put a stop to violence against women. Personally, I look up to the aspiring women leaders and social activists we’ve had. These distressing issues can’t be solved by a single individual but by way of creating young leaders, who are responsible and responsive to change ways of culture and very thinking of this patriarchal society. Growing up in a state that has always supported women empowerment, I feel the true empowerment arises within. It’s up to us to realize our potential and achieve our personal goals. Any hindrance that comes forth could be solved by our willingness and if one’s rights have been denied, there are law and policy made by the government which is ensuring that we, as women, as young girls, could lead a life we dream of. The constitutional and legal rights in India have been strengthened for this purpose. I am reminded of the several NGO’s that has come up for this reason; ‘Bodhini’ which is a notable non-governmental organization has come up with the slogan of “Freedom from Fear”. “When the whole world’s silent, even one Voice becomes powerful” said Malala Yousafzai, who’s an unwavering source of hope to all future women leaders. What matters most is our awareness and responsiveness to any situation when a woman is harassed or tortured on the basis of her gender. Let’s put an end to this by raising our voice, be it our homes or streets, let us believe and work as “One” towards a better, free world! 

AdvocacyGod created both man and woman on the same level.

November 28, 2016

Ruth Kause, Scranton Scholar of Satya Wacana Christian University in IndonesiaI was born in a poor province in eastern part of Indonesia where parents’ role is central in children’s lives. Being born as a woman had put me under situation that one day I have to leave my house and family and live with my own family. This situation is just not happen for me yet for every girl who has the same culture background as me. In our culture, when there is a couple who wants to get married, the male should pay several amount of money and some animals for the female family. We called it “mahar” or “dowry”. This at the first place was meant as appreciation for the girl’s family who had grown the girl until he got to marry her, yet on the implementation it happened to be all the way around. Dowry nowadays become more like the male pay several money and animals for the female and that means that he buy her and she has no more rights, even for rights for life. In addition, the female has to change her family name into her husband’s name. As what I understand about women’s rights as rights that had given by God to a woman since she was born and should not be interfered by anyone, or anything then instigates me that there is something goes wrong. A woman cannot be valued only by money. Even when people get married, it does not literally mean the husband own the wife. People get married because they need each other. Yet, the fact that there are many people who do not share the same way is thrilled me. I cannot imagine what is going to happen in the future if people keep think that they can buy a woman they like and then take off all of her rights. For instance, although the wife is dying, she cannot go to hospital without her husband’s permission, and so on. Since this kind of thing is still happen until now, I really wish that there are more women who understand their rights and stand still to fight for justice. To be able to do this in my opinion women should get enough education and knowledge so that men will not underestimate them but also I want every women to realize that God granted us with such an amazing rights that we need to protect and use it for other’s good. In order to make this possible, there is one way that I am as a theological student can offer, that is through the preaching. We tend to read the Bible and interpret it from patriarch perspective, which is somehow put women on lower position. So I what I am trying to offer is reading and preaching the Bible from new perspective that can show us that God created both man and woman on the same level so there should not be discriminate in any kind of form. And on the other hand I also wish that there will be more men who can understand and concerned about women’s rights. 

AdvocacyWomen's Rights in Cambodia

November 25, 2016

Viphea Reth, Scranton Scholar of Royal University in CambodiaThe world has dramatically changed and shifted toward an equal world. It was begun when only rich white men had the supreme power and now, ideally, women are equally value and respect. As a matter of fact, Cambodian women are also experienced drastic changes in their lives in term how they are being treated and respected in a positive. However, there are still many challenges women face about their individual rights.  As a Cambodia young educated woman, I can see important changes in Cambodian ways of looking at women’s right. I have to appreciate how women are now view at vital part of the society. Women have the right to vote, some equal payment jobs, position in the government, rights to be educated and many other rights that were not given to them in the past few decades. Nevertheless, there are still challenges that Cambodian society has to work on to further strengthen the women’s rights issues in Cambodia. One of the important issues is women’s right to education. There is high percentage of women going to primary school, but it rapidly decreases as the education level increases. They are being forced by their parents to quit schools and go to work in or out of the country or even to marry. Force and arranged marriage are still a hot topic in Cambodian rural areas. This eventually create further problem including domestic violence. When women are not well education, they are likely the victims of violence, both during their work and at home. One more thing is the lack of access to health care system in Cambodia for women. Statistically, both women in rural and the city are at risk during the labor. Over the past few years, many women died during child delivery due to the fact that there is not enough equipment in the hospital. I am looking forward to seeing those changes to improve this beautiful country.  Personally, I have experienced a time when my family limited my right to education. When I finished my high school, both of my parents and a few of my relatives discourage me to pursue my higher education in the capital city, Phnom Penh because they believed that women do not necessary need higher education to live. They all wanted me to find a job and stay close to home. They were very strict and did not even listen to explanation at first. I was very disappointed, but I still find ways to break this tradition thinking. I applied to a leadership dormitory called Harpswell Foundation, a dorm where not only a place to live and food are provided but also leadership education is provided. I was very excited and happy. I explained my scholarship position to my family and let them to study carefully about Harpswell Foundation. They decided to give me the chance after seeing the potential mission of Harpswell Foundation and my many requests. Looking back to that experience, I am very thankful to Harpswell Foundation. I have always looking for ways to pay for my own scholarship each school year like applying for Scranton scholarship, so that my family can see that education makes me independence. As a result, my family strongly believes in my life goals and me.           Promoting women’s rights might be very difficult in a patriarchy society, but that does not mean it is impossible. I think education is the crucial part of the campaign. Men and women should be given the same opportunity for education, so that there is the gender equality in all fields. Men should learn and of course, practice to give up their desire in term of power to women because they both are equally educated and can do the same thing. Women should claim for their rights to equality. They should deny works that they believe that are not justified for them, but rather fighting for what they want. The family should also be educated about the importance of women’s rights, so they do not stop their daughters from pursuing their dreams. Last but not least, the society has to start enforced the law on gender equality and women’s rights. Law should not set to limit the freedom of women, but rather open a new world for women to live in so women can practice their rights and live in a beautiful world. It all starts with a simple act of caring and fighting for women’s rights. This can trigger and change the perspective of the people on women’s rights.  

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