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The Olympia Mall Celebrated the 111th International Women's Day

PHNOM PENH: Tuesday, 8 March, marked International Women’s Day, and Olympia Mall in Phnom Penh, celebrated women by holding an event to raise awareness on the daily challenges and biases women face. The event was held under the theme, #BreakTheBias and featured prominent speakers from various industries. EAC News attended the event to get some insight into the importance of this day, and to learn what "breaking the bias" would entail.

Chea Sokheak, the CEO of The Olympia Mall, created this event in hopes of breaking the bias against women and unlocking the potential that women have. She said that she hopes by bringing women leaders from various industries to speak at the event, attendees will be inspired by their different perspectives and understand the need for greater support for women's success.

The event began with registration and the playing of the national anthem before the first key speakers took the stage. The first panel was moderated by Samphors Se, and featured Koung Sorita, the Undersecretary of State from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs; Ran Sereyleakhena, Deputy Secretary-General of Anti-human Trafficking and Juvenile Justice; Oknha Keo Mom, the President of CWEA and CEO of Ly Ly Food Industry; and Chea Ratha, the CEO and Founder of Khmum Technology.

Undersecretary of State Koung Sorita stated that she wanted the next generation of girls to be their own heroes; thus, she joined the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to create the change that she wanted to see.

For Sereyleakhena, she did not let society discourage her from joining the police force. She talked about how many had wanted to see her fail, but she pushed through and was still able to raise three children while pursuing her career.

Mom talked about the expectations held for women to be able to do everything, and said that as a single mother, she did do it all, by raising a family and being the head of multiple projects. She added that the only reason she could do it was because of love - love for her family, and love for her work. She encouraged all attendees to do what they love because only then will they be able to weather through the hardships.

Before she talked about her experience, Ratha asked the audience to stand up and close their eyes. She asked them to picture a programmer and asked if they saw a face like hers. She said that during her studies, she was one of the few women in her program. She ultimately saw that she needed to be self-sufficient to climb the ladder of success. Thus, she encouraged all women in the audience to be active in their journey to reach wherever they wanted to be.

A second panel was moderated by Ms. Samphors Se, and featured Saroeurn Leakhena, the Country Manager of SHE Investments; Tan Sreypov, the owner of Agro Agape Coffee; You Bory the Founder and CEO of Talent Excellence Development Partner; and DJ Avida. The panel discussed the challenges of breaking habits that keep women from being successful. The main message of the discussion was that women do not need to adhere to stereotypes or traditional understandings of what it means to be a woman.

Davina Chea, a student and model who attended the event, said that the key speakers inspired her to be herself and do what she loves. Another student attendee, Samnang, said that he attended the event to see what the International Women’s Day celebration at Olympia Mall would be like. He said that he learned that one needs to be brave to pursue one’s dream, as well as the need to respect women as equals in order to improve society.

After each panel discussion concluded, CIM models walked the runway for a short fashion show supported by Converse, Beleza, The Pizza Company-Cambodia, Madam Boutique Army, Fly Coffee, and The Olympia Mall.

The evening concluded with a live performance from Singer Prima and DJ Avida from Poung Studio.

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