Women in Tek Network Launches Campaign to Promote Women Entrepreneurs as Role Models

Phnom Penh, August 20, 2021 — The Asia Foundation’s Women in Tek Network (WTN) is launching an online campaign in August called “Modern Women Entrepreneurs” to spotlight women entrepreneurs as role models in Cambodia. Organized in partnership with PACT Cambodia and a network of their partners and grantees working in women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship, the digital campaign will spark conversation countering negative perceptions of women entrepreneurs among families, friends, and communities, and increase the outreach of WTN.  

Despite progressive ideas becoming more popularized, the stereotypes in Cambodia surrounding women in business prevail. As stated in the 2018 Case Studies from the Asian Development Bank and The Asia Foundation on Emerging Lessons on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Asia and the Pacific, it is important to underscore how the roadblocks preventing women from achieving their entrepreneurial potential are rooted in social norms and customary practices that prescribe how much capital, time and autonomy a woman will be able to devote to entrepreneurial activities,” additionally the study found that in South Asia, women who had peer support during workshops and trainings resulted in higher household income and expenditures.  The belief that businesses are a man’s domain remains the norm, at times with family members even discouraging women from pursuing business aspirations. The campaign aims to change negative perceptions of women entrepreneurs among their personal networks and communities, by portraying the entrepreneurs and their support systems–families and friends–as role models to inspire others.  

The digital campaign consists of five short videos in which young women entrepreneurs, their families, and friends will describe various kinds of support they have received and given or wish they have received or given. After the videos are published, an online panel discussion will be conducted, addressing the stereotypes and societal pressures that young women entrepreneurs face. The campaign will run entirely via all partners’ social media pages and will kick off in the third week of August, running for three weeks and ending with a panel discussion in the campaign’s final week. 

Meloney Lindberg, Country Representative in Cambodia, remarked: “One of the most prominent barriers for not only women in tech, but young women entrepreneurs across Cambodia are existing negative societal norms related to women in business. Through this online campaign, we hope to not only destigmatize these negative stereotypes and notions but also to raise awareness on the importance of family, friend, and community support for women entrepreneurs from all sectors in Cambodia.” 

Sabine Joukes, Chief of Party of WE Act, said: “WE Act celebrates Women Entrepreneurs in Cambodia, they represent innovation, tenacity, hard work and creativity, and they very often pursue a business concept that strengthens social benefits in addition to business success. We believe they represent the potential for all passionate young aspiring entrepreneurs that it is possible to succeed as an entrepreneur and gain a respected and admired position in our communities.” 

The Women in Tek Network (WTN) was established with the support from Pact’s WE ACT program, funded by USAID to work with female tech entrepreneurs. WTN aims to provide a needs-based, timely, and tailor-made set of integrated activities to support young women entrepreneurs working in technology through networking, mentorship, and business coaching. So far, the project has recruited and supported 30 WTN members. 

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region addresses five overarching goals—strengthen governance, empower women, expand economic opportunity, increase environmental resilience, and promote international cooperation. 

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Related locations: Cambodia
Related programs: Women's Empowerment and Gender Equality

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