Perspectives: Women's Economic Empowerment and Gender Justice
Ms Sovan Srun, Co-Founder and CEO of Edemy
I think that mobile technology is playing a big part in improving gender equality in Cambodia, particularly with regard to access to education. Today, I see young girls not only using their smartphones to chat with friends on Facebook or to show off their acting talents on Tik Tok, but also downloading educational apps to prepare for their exams or to coax their seniors and teachers on Facebook to help solve a math problem. For good and bad, one cannot deny that technology is indeed having a big impact on us.
Technology to Empower Women
Young girls in rural areas stand to benefit most from access to such technology because their mobility is constrained by either cultural stigma or other concerns. For example, some of the girls Edemy has worked with cannot go to extra tutoring classes in the evening as it is considered unsafe. When parents are out doing farm work, these girls have to stay at home to take care of their younger siblings. This means that female students are frequently absent from school. Having a smartphone with an internet connection helps them keep tabs on what’s going on in the classroom. They can find resources online or get them from their friends. At Edemy, we are playing our part by creating a learning mobile app called Tesdopi, which helps complement their STEM knowledge and prepare for exams.
Access to technology also empowers women by providing them with new knowledge and information. These days, whenever my mum gets a new prescription, she always asks me to check the medicines on the internet. She is now learning how to use Google Translate and counting to the days when she can find content in Khmer on her own. Having more diverse quality e-resources in the Khmer language is important for these women and Cambodians in general. Our partners are using our e-learning platforms to provide different online business and leadership training for their beneficiaries. This helps many women who cannot travel for an extended period of time to learn ways to improve their businesses. Regardless, much more needs to be done on the online quality side so that women are equipped with information and knowledge that can help raise the gender equity bar.