Three women were honoured at the Cambodian Women in Tech Awards by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications last week. Chan Penhleak and Long Leakhena each received the Cambodian Woman ICT Entrepreneur Award, while Fat Si Em received the Cambodian Woman ICT Engineer Award.
Ms Leakhena, 25, is a co-founder and CEO of Joonaak Delivery, which offers delivery service and complete eCommerce solutions for SMEs. Holding a BA in enterprise management and professional communication from RULE and IFL, Ms Leakhena is passionate about eCommerce, technology and business development. She started Joonaak with the other co-founders in 2015 with the aim of developing last-mile connectivity between businesses and people by integrating technology and delivering convenience.
“The number of women in the technology field is lacking. Some women may worry that their families or husbands will not allow them to study. I think if women want to learn and get involved in this industry they should have discuss it with their family,” Ms Leakhena said. “Technology is very important for people, especially women who own businesses; that’s why they need this skill to help them with their work.”
Ms Penhleak, 29, is an open data practitioner and education advocate. She has extensive knowledge of open data and a strong industry network in Southeast Asia, especially Cambodia. She is an occasional public speaker and trainer on the topics of open data, technology for transparency, and data journalism for youth groups, non-profits, universities, and newsrooms. She is interested in exploring how access to information and civic technology can impact development.
“Technology nowadays is increasing and developing day by day, and people should know and use it the right way. There are advantages and disadvantages and if people use it the wrong way it will impact society. IT [information technology] is not only for men to study but for everybody who has this talent, especially women,” Ms Penhleak said.
Ms Si Em, 33, is from Banteay Meanchey province. In 2004, she came to Phnom Penh to continue her university studies. She graduated from two universities: the Institute of Technology of Cambodia, majoring IT, and Norton University, majoring in English communication. After graduating from university, she started her telecommunications career with a private company, where she has worked since 2009.
“When I started working with the mobile phone system and network, the first time I thought it was very hard for women, and my parents also worried. Sometimes I had to go up to work on the high mobile cables, working on the connections with my make colleagues. Sometimes I had to work in very hot rooms for several days. I never gave up because I just wanted to work as hard as I could; I always did my best and kept going. I think it was for this reason that the ministry selected me to receive the Cambodian Woman ICT Engineer Award,” Ms Si Em said.
Ms Si Em added: “Women should work in their favourite job, I recommend that if women love this work they should follow their dream, because if they love what they are doing they can achieve anything.”