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Rise of Tech Use Equals Rise of Awareness of Women's Rights Issues in Cambodia

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As technology use upsurges in Cambodia, so too does awareness for the violence against women endemic that has been a point of contention in the country for decades. Innovative and forward-thinking women from Phnom Penh - in conjunction with the US non-profit organisation The Asia Foundation - are challenging cultural standards that have propagated female subservience and normalised domestic violence through the development and release of smartphone apps.
As reported by the Guardian, a 2013 UN paper on men and violence in Asia and the Pacific found 25% of women in Cambodia purported to having experienced at least one instance of intimate partner violence in their lifetime, whether it be psychological, physical or sexual. It is not only the influence of societal norms that affects the statistics - gender inequality, alcohol abuse and exposure to violence-condoning media are all considered factors in the issue.
Activists such as Sum Dany, Phat Sreytouch and Bunn Rachana are capitalising on the rise in use of technology and social media for philanthropic motives by creating apps that provide educational tools to teach women their rights, along with information on services that are available to them. Their apps - Krousar Koumrou, 7Plus and Safe App 008 respectively - also allow for women to report violence anonymously and even send their GPS coordinates to family and friends when in danger.
The development of these apps is one step further forward in the fight for women's issues; in recent months, Cambodia has also seen an increase of popularity in the use of social media sites such as Facebook, which as a result is providing a somewhat safe and confidential platform for women to express views on topics that may otherwise be off limits.
However, the progress is not without its problems. Whilst the Cambodian government does not censor their media, the possibility of their interference cannot be ruled out due to the already strained relationship between the two. Due to reasons such as this, training in technology and social media platforms for the mass population could prove difficult. Whilst there is still undoubtedly a long way to go for women's rights in south-east Asia, it is optimistically progressive that changing attitudes are being achieved through technology. 



SMF rookie, fresh out of academia, looking forward to more creative ventures. With a love of current affairs, green tea and an ever insatiable wanderlust, Katie is ready to have her voice heard. Follow her @KatieAtSMF


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Rise of Tech Use Equals Rise of Awareness of Women's Rights Issues in Cambodia Reviewed by Katie Gascoyne on Thursday, September 24, 2015 Rating: 5

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