Cambodian Civil Rights Leader Freed – Did Network Effect Help Her Cause? – Forbes

Mu Sochua, Member of Parliament, Cambodia

It has leveled the playing field, and provided a platform for a faster track to equality. It is a network that shares powerful voices freely and respectfully, even amidst political disagreement. Mu Sochuas story is a striking one. After 18 years in exile (she was sent away by here parents as a teenager in the violent 1970s), Mu returned to Cambodia in 1989 and served as adviser on womens affairs to the prime minister, was elected to the national assembly and was minister of womens and a veterans affairs from 1998 to 2004, a position she relinquished to join the Sam Rainsy Party, the leading opposition party in Cambodia. In 2002 she mobilized 12,000 women candidates to run for commune elections, with over 900 women winning and still actively promoting the womens agenda at the grass-roots level. In that same year she helped create and pass the Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill, which imposes severe penalties on marital rape and abuse of minors. Her work in Cambodia also includes campaigns with men to end domestic violence and the spread of HIV/AIDS; working for the rights of female entrepreneurs; working for labor laws that provide fair wages and safe working conditions for female workers; and working for the development of communities for squatters with schools, health centers, sanitation, and employment. This work put her in opposition to the government, which has taken action against her and she remains a powerful symbol, not just in Cambodia. Ive seen the power of a woman like Mu Sochua when she speaks to women from other countries, said Disney.
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