The head of the commune defends the role of women in leadership

Heng Srey Pov, a resident of Kansaom Ak village and township in Kampong Trabek district, Prey Veng province, was re-elected Kansaom Ak township chief in the fifth term township council election on June 5 in order to continue its work in service of the population – which involves finding ways to empower women and solve their particular problems.

Srey Pov was born on March 15, 1970 in the province of Prey Veng in a farming family with three children and she had a very difficult life during her upbringing, so she has come a very long way to reach her position today. of commune chief.

Potential in poverty

When Srey Pov was a teenager in the 1980s, she helped sell her mother’s palm cakes to raise money for her own education. At the time, she didn’t have more than a hundred or two hundred riels to bring to school and some days she didn’t even have that amount because her two older brothers were studying.

Srey Pov’s family only had an old bicycle that his three siblings took turns riding to school. His parents were farmers, but the small amount of farmland they had to cultivate made life difficult for the whole family.

She started school in 1979 after Cambodia was liberated from the Khmer Rouge, but only attended her first year of high school, after which she married and had three children.

Srey Pov said she would have loved to be able to continue her education back then and even today she would continue as far as she could if she could, but to do so at 52 would not be easy or even convenient . given his current responsibilities.

She regretted her education because at that time her family was poor and her parents could not afford to send their children to continue their studies. If life is as prosperous as it is now, she would continue to pursue higher education like everyone else.

natural leader

At the age of 21, Srey Pov started working for the village women’s association where she gained the trust and support of village elders and peers. She was then promoted to the commune’s women’s association and further expanded by working with local NGOs.

In 2007, the second term communal council election was held and Srey Pov stood for election as the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) candidate. She won a council seat with the enthusiastic support of her local community, then served two terms.

Then, in 2017, she ran for the first time as leader of the communal council and was elevated to that post, which she has now been re-elected to for the fifth term last month.

Four times winner of the elections

Srey Pov is extremely proud to have been re-elected commune chief thanks to the support of the population and the community elders.

She says she worked hard all her life starting from humble beginnings and never imagined she could take on a leadership role like this because she had so little formal education. compared to others.

Now, however, after doing the job for a full five-year term and being re-elected to continue in that role, she says she sees the job as her destiny, calling it a source of pride for every woman in her commune. who now dedicate themselves to working as hard as they can – even beyond the point of exhaustion – to succeed.

In addition to her role as commune chief where she provides services to meet the needs and demands of the people of the commune, she also visits all the villages to encourage the girls of the commune to work hard to learn both the khmer. as foreign languages ​​so that they can compete with men for the best jobs.

She said her belief is that if men can do something, so can women, although they may take a different path to achieve the same goal.

Srey Pov observed that in other countries there are many women who are leaders – even prime ministers – and although there are notable high-ranking women leaders in Cambodia today, the Kingdom must strive to elevate more of them to leadership positions in the future as women make up 50% of the population.

Road to a better future

For the new term, Srey Pov intends to focus on building infrastructure such as roads, drainage systems and other fundamental improvements that will directly improve the lives of residents.

Another important task she focuses on is providing better public services as well as increasing humanitarian work to help the poor and those in need such as flood victims, women in personal or family crisis and people with mental illnesses.

For the new term, there are nine seats on the communal council occupied by elected candidates, eight of whom come from the Cambodian People’s Party and one from the Candlelight Party. However, Srey Pov remains the only female politician in Kansom Ak commune.

In order to set an example for the communal administration, Srey Pov said that she would work hard to maintain the trust of the local population and that she would in particular ensure that all public services are provided in an honest and transparent manner, without additional costs or favouritism.

She also plans to make herself easily accessible at home during her off hours in case residents of the commune face an emergency.

female wisdom

“If I don’t seem scared at the idea of ​​being the only woman to lead a team of men, it’s because there’s nothing to fear. When I was first elected some of the other council members wouldn’t listen to me because I’m a woman and most of them were older men, but once I became chief , I was able to get their attention,” she said. .

She said that as a female commune leader, it is very important for her to understand the hardships endured by women and help them as women need more support to overcome discrimination and achieve equality. with men.

“There should be no discrimination or violence against women. Neither in my commune, nor in the Kingdom. Women should be encouraged and given the opportunity to work for the development of our nation,” she said.

Joan D. Boling