By CHHENG Sotharath
Back in the old days, around the world, your rights were completely defined by societies, traditions, cultures and religions you lived in — these conditions prevented you from realizing your true potentials and created gender imbalances. You were pushed into weakness and submission. It was a culturally accepted standard to a point where some women thought that it was all right to get exploited, harassed and downgraded in any way possible because of your own gender. The society you lived in made you believe that people were not born equal, you were badly mistreated as if you were their slaves.
In some parts of the world, those dark old days have passed not because of the struggle for equality of a single woman; it has passed because of the collective efforts from all of you who are self-aware that you deserve to have your full rights just like men. It was possible to break the circle of imbalances in power relations between men and women because you realized that you are also humans, and you deserve to be equally treated and respected as human beings. The whole world has to accept the truth that it is NOT ok for women to be mistreated and that it is NOT ok to stay silent when women around you are being subjugated. Women’s rights are human rights, and it is necessary that you, women, who are living in those parts of the world where the dark old days have already passed, to stand up for those women whose voices have been muted in other parts of the world, where gender imbalances still exist.
Despite improvements worldwide in equality between men and women, some women are still marginalized. And it is important for those of you who are still being mistreated by your societies you are living in to know that the other parts of the world are fighting for your equality. Our collective efforts will one day overcome the exploitation and abuse, and succeed in empowering every single woman in the world. It is important to have hope. Pain is real but so is hope.
It is important to understand that your real value is not determined by what society thinks of you. Your real value should not be dictated by society’s ancient way of thinking about women, which should have expired with the arrival of the 21st century. You yourself define who you are.