There are few existing cultural feminist studies of Chbab Srey, Camobodia’s Rules for Women, that consider how Chbab Srey might be used as a critical tool of reflection to increase women’s autonomy. This study aims to examine Chbab Srey using the seven agentic skills that make self-determinism possible and lead to developing ‘autonomy’. This framework interrogates Min Mai’s version of Chbab Srey, which is taught in general education textbooks, through a critical textual analysis coupled with a critical analysis of stakeholder interviews. This study found that Chbab Srey can be characterized as a Khmer cultural gender discourse to metaphysically and epistemologically nurture women to increase their autonomy and self-empowerment by balancing familial knowledge and power relationships. This analysis identifies an alternative gender discourse to promote gender education and practice to empower women in their development and social engagement and it represents a significant contribution to decolonizing feminist research on Chbab Srey.
Ms. Samphors Mech, is a Ph.D. student in the Khmer Studies Program at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) as well as the CKS Ph.D. Dissertation Research Fellow. She has an academic background in philosophy and she was one of the core founders in establishing a graduate program (M.A) in Philosophy in 2016, where she served as a Program Assistant since its inception. In 2017, she was promoted to Deputy-Head of the Philosophy Department at RUPP. She is also a member of the Philosophy Committee in the National Council of the Khmer Language of the Royal Academy.
Ms. Samedy Suong, CKS Head of Programs