Magazine article Connexions

Reconstructing the Fabric of Women's Lives

Magazine article Connexions

Reconstructing the Fabric of Women's Lives

Article excerpt

Combodia

Khemara was Cambodia's first local non-governmental organization (NGO) and works for the advancement of women. It, along with the blossoming local NGO movement, is very much working towards Beijing and using it as an opportunity for raising awareness and empowering the millions of women who are contributing to the reconstruction of their country.

Cambodia is the chair for "Women Weaving the World Together," a global project for Beijing that women in Cambodia have embraced with enthusiasm. We want others to join the celebration and spread the message to women far and wide.

The Vision

Women of the world, our lives interwoven in the global village, are planning to link our diverse heritage to our common future with a woven ribbon. This ribbon will be of thousands of pieces from every village and corner of the world and be taken to Beijing and stitched together.

In every part of the world, weaving is a skill possessed by women and an activity they undertake to generate income. More than this, weaving is an expression of their lives, their love and their aspirations. The woven ribbon will be a symbol of the unity.

The Road to Beijing

The Conference sees the launch of a new decade on women and the beginning of a road of action for Cambodian women who are taking steps to gain recognition and equality for their vital role in the reconstruction of the country.

To kick off our project, we plan a media event for the Water Festival in November [1994]. Women from the 21 provinces will join their weavings in Phnom Penh to make a 1 km banner for Beijing. It will be marched through the streets of the capital and will launch three days of exhibitions, handicrafts and performance on women's activities.

For the kick off, teams of trainers will go to all the provinces to train women and empower them to raise awareness on the status of women.

Women's Status

Millions of Cambodian lives were lost over two decades of war. The socio-economic status of women has been severely affected. More than half the country's adult population are women and two-thirds of them widows. According to the United National Human Development Report, Cambodian women are likely to receive 1.7 years of education in their lifetime. Maternal mortality per 10,000 is 800--more than double the world average. …

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