Purple shirts dominated the Freedom Park on 8th March, the 104th International Women’s Day, where women came to sing and dance for gender equality and safe cities. The campaign was organized by the “Safe Cities for Women” which was launched last year on July 26. The campaign aims to ending sexual violence against women in cities and towns, stopping sex attackers from impunity, and advocating for safe and gender-responsive public services.
I was privileged to be there to witness the eagerness of people coming there to show their support. I was not sure of how many T-Shirts they provided to the dancers but they ran out completely at before 5pm. It means this mass gathering was very popular.
According to its Facebook Page, Safe Cities for Women Cambodia reported that there were about 1,000 people came, mostly young women.
I talked to two participants who similarly told me that they believe the campaign will make a different in the society as a whole.
Rithy, a 25 year old garment factory worker who comes from Toeuk Thla area said that she is very excited to watch her other colleagues enjoy themselves in the crowd. When I asked “Why it is important for her to come here?”, she responded that she believes when people hear such campaigns through radio or TV advertisement, people would not be quick to get change or take part in any activity. So, when people came here directly and actively involve through the dance, they will become active agents to take responsibility in protecting women and advocate for more. Moreover, Vanna who is a 50 year old former government officer expressed how she likes the program. She said “It is my rights [to come and dance here]. We can express our idea by speaking loudly and writing on the provided white flip charts.
Socheata, right in the below photo, was very proud in showing her cheek painting of feminism symbol. On the left is one of the organizer and an activist.
I think it is time to not talk about the “Code for Women”. Let’s talk what we can do more to make the campaign spirit high. We shall continue the dance to attract more attention to make our cities safe for all.
I also hope that I will get the T-Shirt next time.