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Cambodia

Gender in Development Discourses of Civil Society Organisations and Mekong Hydropower Dams

Citation:

Lebel, Louis, Phimphakan Lebel, Kanokwan Manorom, and Zhou Yishu. 2019. “Gender in Development Discourses of Civil Society Organisations and Mekong Hydropower Dams.” Water Alternatives 12 (1): 192–220.

Authors: Louis Lebel, Phimphakan Lebel, Kanokwan Manorom, Zhou Yishu

Abstract:

'Gender in development' discourses are used to justify interventions into, or opposition to, projects and policies; they may also influence perceptions, practices, or key decisions. Four discursive threads are globally prominent: livelihoods and poverty; natural resources and the environment; rights-based; and managerial. Civil society organisations (CSOs) have been vocal in raising awareness about the adverse impacts of large-scale hydropower developments on the environment, on local livelihoods, and on vulnerable groups including women. This discourse analysis first examines how CSOs engaging in hydropower processes in the Mekong Region frame and use gender in development discourses, and then evaluates the potential of these discourses to empower both women and men. Documents authored by CSOs are examined in detail for how gender is represented, as are media reports on CSO activities, interview transcripts, and images. The findings underline how CSOs depend on discursive legitimacy for influence. Their discursive strategies depend on three factors: the organizations’ goals with respect to development, gender, and the environment; whether the situation is pre- or post-construction; and, on their relationships with the state, project developers and dam-affected communities. The implications of these strategies for empowerment are often not straightforward; inadvertent and indirect effects, positive and negative, are common. The findings of this study are of practical value to CSOs wishing to be more reflexive in their work and more responsive to how it is talked about, as it shows the ways that language and images may enhance or inadvertently work against efforts to empower women.

Keywords: civil society organisations, gender in development, discourse, representation, hydropower

Topics: Civil Society, Development, Environment, Gender, Infrastructure, Energy, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam

Year: 2019

Feminist Political Ecology and Legal Geography: A Case Study of the Tonle Sap Protected Wetlands of Cambodia

Citation:

Gillespie, Josephine, and Nicola Perry. 2018. “Feminist Political Ecology and Legal Geography: A Case Study of the Tonle Sap Protected Wetlands of Cambodia.” Economy and Space 51 (5): 1089-105.

Authors: Josephine Gillespie, Nicola Perry

Abstract:

Legal geography (LG) unravels the co-constitutive relationship between law, space and society. Much LG scholarship has focused on urban issues situated in the Global North, but there is an emerging scholarship that explicitly extends this effort to the Global South and to rural locations. For example, Gillespie’s LG research in Southeast Asia exposes problems in governance institutions and decision-making processes that can unintentionally exacerbate existing socioeconomic disadvantage. The feminist political ecology (FPE) approach, as conceptualized by Rocheleau et al. and more recently expanded upon by Elmhirst provides a useful additional framework for considering the intersectionality of social and environmental factors which constitute identity, and the mutual dependency between identity and ecological processes. In this paper we argue that marrying an LG perspective with FPE results in a more nuanced understanding of complex legal– human–environment dynamics. Our focus on lore/law plus gendered identity as a lens for analysis blends an emergent LG literature with insights from FPE. This paper draws on research from a pilot project on the formal and informal regulatory mechanisms that enable and/or disable sustainable conservation in the protected wetlands of the Tonle Sap (lake) in central Cambodia.

Keywords: legal geography, feminist political ecology, intersectionality, wetlands, Cambodia

Topics: Environment, Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Cambodia

Year: 2019

“Our Lands are Our Lives”: Gendered Experiences of Resistance to Land Grabbing in Rural Cambodia

Citation:

Park, Clara Mi Young. 2019. “‘Our Lands Are Our Lives’: Gendered Experiences of Resistance to Land Grabbing in Rural Cambodia.” Feminist Economics 25 (4): 21-44.

Author: Clara Mi Young Park

Abstract:

Cambodia is known as a hotspot for land grabbing in Southeast Asia. Land dispossession due to elite capture, natural resources exploitation, and agribusiness development has catalyzed international attention following outbreaks of violence, mass protests, and retaliations. Agrarian economies, as well as social and gender relations and thus power dynamics at different levels, are being transformed and reshaped, facilitated by policies that promote capital penetration in rural areas and individualization of land access. Focusing on cases of rural dispossession and political resistance in Ratanakiri and Kampong Speu provinces, and drawing on reports, government documents, focus group discussions, and interviews, this study analyzes the gendered implications of land grabbing in contemporary Cambodia and argues that gender shapes and informs women’s responses and politics, as well as the spaces in which these are played out.

Keywords: women, gender, land grabs, dispossession, mobilization, Cambodia

Topics: Agriculture, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Land grabbing, Political Participation Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Cambodia

Year: 2019

The Dark Underbelly of Land Struggles: The Instrumentalization of Female Activism and Emotional Resistance in Cambodia

Citation:

Hennings, Anne. 2019. “The Dark Underbelly of Land Struggles: The Instrumentalization of Female Activism and Emotional Resistance in Cambodia.” Critical Asian Studies 51 (1): 103–19.

Author: Anne Hennings

Abstract:

Facing land grabs and eviction in the name of development, women worldwide increasingly join land rights struggles despite often deeply engrained images of female domesticity and conventional gender norms. Yet, the literature on female agency in the context of land struggles has remained largely underexplored. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, my findings suggest that land rights activism in Cambodia has undergone a gendered re-framing process. Reasoning that women use non-violent means of contestation and are less prone to violence from security personnel, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) push women affected by land grabs and eviction to the frontline of protests. Moreover, female activists are encouraged to publicly display emotions, such as the experienced pain behavior that sharply contrasts with Cambodian norms of feminine modesty. I critically question this women-to-the-front strategy and, drawing on Sara Ahmed’s politics of emotions approach, show the adverse risks for female activists. Furthermore, I demonstrate that the instrumentalization of female bodies and emotions in land rights protests perpetuate gender disparities instead of strengthening female agency in the Cambodian society and opening up political space for women.

Keywords: dispossession, land grabbing, gendered eviction, politics of emotion, Cambodia

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, Land grabbing, NGOs, Nonviolence, Political Participation, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Cambodia

Year: 2019

The Aftermath for Women Warriors: Cambodia and East Timor

Citation:

Blackburn, Susan. 2020. "The Aftermath for Women Warriors: Cambodia and East Timor." In Women Warriors in Southeast Asia, edited by Vina Lanzona and Frederik Rettig, 229-45. New York: Routledge.

Author: Susan Blackburn

Annotation:

Summary:
This chapter examines what happens to women combatants at the end of armed conflicts, taking case studies from research in Cambodia and East Timor in 2005–2006. The evidence shows that the fate of women ex-combatants depends in part on the nature of the conflict and which side women fought on. The chapter investigates how the process known as disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) of former combatants was conducted in these two countries, in light of the United Nations resolution recommending gender awareness in DDR. Using the two countries as examples, the chapter notes the difficulties in giving due recognition to female ex-combatants.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Conflict, International Organizations, Post-Conflict, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia, Oceania Countries: Cambodia, Timor-Leste

Year: 2020

Guarantees of Non-Recurrence of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence against Women after the Khmer Rouge

Citation:

You, Sotheary. 2019. "Guarantees of Non-Recurrence of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence against Women after the Khmer Rouge." Swiss Peace Cambodia Working Paper Series 6/2019, Center for the Study of Humanitarian Law, University of Basel, Basel.

Author: Sotheary You

Abstract:

Four decades after the collapse of the Khmer Rouge regime, Cambodian women continue to suffer from discriminatory social, cultural and economic norms and to experience gender injustice in social and political spheres. Against this background, this paper asks whether and to what extent transitional justice has contributed to providing guarantees of non-recurrence of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) against women in Cambodia. This paper examines how the transitional justice process addressed SGBV committed under the Khmer Rouge regime. It shows that transitional justice has not adequately recognized SGBV against women under the Khmer Rouge, that there has been lack of representation of women in the process and that an unfair redistribution of resources after the Khmer Rouge contributed to further discrimination. Drawing from the concept of guarantees of non-recurrence and feminist scholarship on gender justice, this paper highlights how a lack of gender-transformative policy and the government’s lack of capacity to comply with international legal standards has shaped women’s experiences after the Khmer Rouge. It argues that, in order to guarantee the non-repetition of SGBV against women, transitional justice initiatives should aim to address social and cultural injustice effectively; to subvert patriarchal and oppressive norms; and to promote women’s participation in social, economic and political development in Cambodia. It concludes with policy recommendations.

Keywords: Khmer Rouge, guarantee of non-recurrence, transformative reparation, transitional justice, Cambodia, sexual and gender-based violence

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Justice, Transitional Justice, Political Participation, Sexual Violence, SV against women Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Cambodia

Year: 2019

Sexual and Gender-Based Violence: The Case for Transformative Justice in Cambodia

Citation:

Szablewska, Natalia, and Olga Jurasz, 2018. "Sexual and Gender-Based Violence: The Case for Transformative Justice in Cambodia." Global Change, Peace & Security 31 (3): 263-82.

Authors: Natalia Szablewska, Olga Jurasz

Abstract:

This article aims to advance the idea of transformative justice by building on and expanding the notion of ‘justice’ beyond that traditionally offered by transitional justice discourse and practice. The need for a paradigm shift is warranted by the continued high levels of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), directed predominantly towards women, experienced in post-conflict contexts. Using the example of Cambodia, we argue that the scale of SGBV in a post-conflict country can be an indicator of the extent of ‘transformative’ change taking place, and, thus, of the success of transitional justice processes and democracy consolidation, particularly regarding gender equality. Gender equality is essential for democratisation, as democracy should be both a political and a social project. Thus, democracy- and peace-building efforts require challenging entrenched power hierarchies and deep-rooted gender inequality, of which SGBV is symptomatic.

Keywords: transformative justice, 'transitional justice', sexual and gender-based violence, gender equality, Cambodia, democratisation

Topics: Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Justice, Transitional Justice, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, SV against women Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Cambodia

Year: 2018

Sexual and Reproductive Health Is a Security Issue for Southeast Asia

Citation:

Tanyag, Maria. 2018. "Sexual and Reproductive Health Is a Security Issue for Southeast Asia." Australian ​Journal of International Affairs 72 (6): 495-9.

Author: Maria Tanyag

Annotation:

Summary:

"Promoting health and well-being among young women and girls is a security issue for Southeast Asia due to the immediate need to bridge health inequalities in the region, especially among populations trapped in cycles of poverty and gender discrimination, and internally displaced populations. The often-deliberate neglect of sexual and reproductive health constitutes significant human rights violations in both crisis situations (disaster and conflict) and the everyday (Tanyag 2018). For young women and girls, sexual and reproductive health is a building block for further developing their human capabilities such as in accessing education and livelihood.

By focusing on access to sexual and reproductive health services and information, I highlight the security dimensions to addressing sexual and reproductive health especially among adolescents as both a pre-condition for truly inclusive leadership necessary to address multiple security threats in Southeast Asia, and an outcome of genuine resilience-building with gender equality at its core" (Tanyag 2018, 495).

Topics: Gender, Women, Girls, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Health, Reproductive Health, Livelihoods, Rights, Security Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines

Year: 2018

The Khmer Rouge Tribunal's First Reparation for Gender-Based Crimes

Citation:

Grey, Rosemary, Yim Sotheary, and Kum Somaly. 2019. "The Khmer Rouge Tribunal's First Reparation for Gender-Based Crimes." Australian Journal of Human Rights 25 (3): 488-97.

Authors: Rosemary Grey, Yim Sotheary, Kum Somaly

Abstract:

The Khmer Rouge’s crimes of forced marriage and sexual violence have been commemorated in a dance production, entitled Pka Sla Krom Angkar. It is one of several artworks that were recognised in 2018 as “reparations” by the United Nations-backed Khmer Rouge Tribunal, known officially as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). In this article, researchers from Australia and Cambodia reflect on the production’s significance from multiple perspectives. It is a catalyst for discussing human rights; a tool for promoting psychological healing; and a part of the ECCC’s legal process.

Keywords: ECCC, International Criminal Law, Cambodia, forced marriage, gender-based crimes, reparations

Topics: Gender-Based Violence, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Reparations, Rights, Human Rights, Sexual Violence Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Cambodia

Year: 2019

Aftermath: Women and Women’s Organizations In Postconflict Societies: The Role of International Assistance

Citation:

Kumar, Krishna. 2001. Aftermath: Women and Women’s Organizations In Postconflict Societies: The Role of International Assistance. 28. U.S. Agency for International Development, Washington, DC.

Author: Krishna Kumar

Annotation:

Summary: 
Since the end of the Cold War, intrastate conflicts have increased worldwide. Poverty, the struggle for scarce resources, declining standards of living, ethnic rivalries and divisions, political repression by authoritarian governments, and rapid social and economic modernization—all these factors contribute to intrastate conflicts. All intrastate conflicts share a set of common characteristics that have major implications for women and gender relations. First, the belligerent parties deliberately inflict violence on civilian populations. Second, the intrastate conflicts displace substantial numbers of people, mostly women and children. Third, women’s participation in war contributes to the redefinition of their identities and traditional roles. Fourth, there is usually a conscious attempt to destroy the supporting civilian infrastructure, leading to increased poverty and starvation. Finally, these conflicts leave among the belligerent groups within the countries a legacy of bitterness, hatred, and anger that is difficult to heal.

Both men and women suffer from such conflicts. This study examines specifically the effects on women in six casestudy countries: Cambodia, Bosnia, El Salvador, Georgia, Guatemala, and Rwanda. It looks as well at the rise of indigenous women’s organizations—their role, their impact, their future. Teams from USAID’s Center for Development Information and Evaluation visited those countries during 1999. They found the effects of war on women to fall into three broad categories: Social and psychological. Women often were traumatized by the conflict. After the hostilities, many feared for their physical safety. During the early phases of postconflict transition, unemployed militia continued to pose a serious threat to the lives and property of women and children. Fear of violence and sexual abuse (rape had actually been used as a tool of war, to subjugate, humiliate, terrorize) often kept women from moving about freely. Abject conditions in many postconflict societies contributed to the growth of prostitution.

Economic. A major problem was lack of property rights. Women were denied ownership of land their dead husbands or parents had owned. Rural women who owned no land or other assets worked as laborers or sharecroppers, at minimal wages. Urban women carved out livings mostly by selling foods and household items. During conflict, women could work in many occupations. As ex-combatants returned to civilian life, though, female workers were the first to lose their jobs.

Political. In the absence of men, all six countries witnessed an expansion of women’s public roles during the conflict. Women volunteered in churches, schools, hospitals, and private charities. They often took charge of political institutions, enhancing their political skills—and raising their expectations.

The conflicts created a ripe environment for the emergence or growth of women’s organizations. For one thing, the wars undermined the traditional social order; women found it easier to take part in public affairs. Moreover, governmental reforms after the wars created political space to launch women’s organizations. Another factor was disillusionment. During or in the immediate aftermath of the wars, women’s expectations of increased political participation had risen. Those expectations were never fully realized. Finally, the readiness of the international community to provide assistance to such organizations contributed to their growth.

In the case-study countries, women’s organizations have been active in virtually all sectors: social, educational, economic, political. They have established health clinics, provided reproductive health care, organized mass vaccination programs. They have carried out programs to generate income and employment for women, emphasizing microcredit and vocational training. They have grappled with domestic violence, prostitution, and the plight of returning refugees and internally displaced women. And they have promoted democracy and human rights, supported social reconciliation, and worked to increase women’s participation in political affairs.

International assistance has been important to the development of women’s organizations—and will be far into the foreseeable future. Beyond financial support, international bodies have helped indigenous women acquire managerial, accounting, and technical skills. International assistance has also helped legitimize women’s organizations, for example by sheltering them from government interference.

Attending the emergence of women’s organizations is an array of obstacles. They are social and cultural, imposed from without, and organizational, imposed from within. Chief among the former is women’s low social status. At the family, community, and national levels, women confront a lack of support for their public activities. Another outside encumbrance is the short-term nature of international assistance, which prevents long-term planning. Chief among internal obstacles is the reluctance of women leaders to delegate authority and to train junior staff for future leadership. There is, moreover, a lack of communication and sharing among organizations.

The six individual CDIE country evaluations yielded a number of recommendations aimed at making assistance to women’s organizations more effective. Among them: 
1. Build on women’s economic and political gains. Because the postconflict era provides an opening to build on the progress made by women during conflict, it makes sense for USAID to continue to capitalize on this opportunity. 
2. Pay greater attention to civilian security. USAID can assume a leadership role in publicizing the problem of civilian security and the need for concerted action to protect women. The Agency can also encourage other organizations to carry out programs that can enhance physical security for women.
3. Make concerted efforts with the rest of the international community to prevent sexual abuse of women. Measures might include protecting witnesses, training international peacekeepers in gender issues, and promoting more women to international judicial posts.
4. Promote microcredit. USAID should support microcredit programs but not ignore their limitations. They are not cures for all economic problems facing women in postconflict societies.
5. Support property rights for women. USAID should continue supporting property-rights reforms affecting women. This should include not only constitutional and legislative reforms but also their effective implementation.
6. Consider multiyear funding. The assurance of assistance for periods longer than 6–9 months will help build institutional capacity and boost staff morale.
7. Promote sustainability of women’s organizations. USAID could provide technical assistance, when necessary, to improve management; consider funding a portion of core costs, in addition to program costs, for a limited period; and help organizations become self-reliant by such means as improving skills in advocacy, fundraising, networking, and coalition.
8. Promote greater women’s participation in elections. USAID should consider steps to encourage political parties to field women candidates and assist women candidates on a nonpartisan basis.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Civil Society, Displacement & Migration, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Governance, Elections, Health, Trauma, International Organizations, Livelihoods, Political Participation, Rights, Land Rights, Security, Sexual Violence, SV against women, Violence Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Americas, Central America, Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe, South Caucasus Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cambodia, El Salvador, Georgia, Guatemala, Rwanda

Year: 2001

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