In the past, many wives were kept at home as housewives doing the household chores. Women were not allowed to go to school in the past and they couldn’t choose their own partners. The reason why this norm makes a perfect sense during that period of time is very simple. At that time, women were place
In Cambodia cultural norm, we place value on men more than on women. For example, tradition Khmer words said that women couldn’t walk around the kitchen. This expression suggests that women have no ability to do anything since they couldn’t even walk around the kitchen. In the past, many wives were kept at home as housewives doing the household chores. Women were not allowed to go to school in the past and they couldn’t choose their own partners. The reason why this norm makes a perfect sense during that period of time is very simple. At that time, women were placed far from the center of the moral community and there is no word of human right. Because men were superior and they enjoy the status quo that was the reason why they tried to protect the way things were.
Although I am a man, there is no way for me to agree with this particular norm. The society of today society wouldn’t exist just because of men alone. It existed because of the two combinations, men and women. If both men and women built up this society, it is true that we should place them in the center of our moral community.
In my opinion, placing low value on women is a very moral issue because according to Foundation of Critical Thinking (2006) it is a morally wrong to cheat, deceive exploit others. We have to respect the right of others including their freedom and well-being. To value women less mean men have more opportunity to exploit and gain more advantage from the women side. Men enjoy the happy time and left women suffering either mental or physical. This way of believe is not only an immoral act but it also against the Buddhist philosophy as well.
Buddhist philosophy says that in this world community we place everything in the center and we value them equally. According to Buddha, everything is interconnected and to exploit others mean to exploit everything in the community because one connect to another as a web of lives. In our example where men have more value than women, it shows that men try to exploit women by being superior or using the authority they have. Although, on the surface, the norm of placing less value on women doesn’t fall into any of the five precepts which are mentioned in Buddhist teaching, this norm might fall into the first precept if we think deeper. Honestly speaking men don’t kill women by just placing less value on them, but instead, they create suffering and harm to them.
In today Cambodian society, women are given more value than they used to have in the past. Women can go to school, work in the government sector and are given the right to do what they are capable of doing it. Though the trend of placing value on women keeps improving, in the real world men still have the most privilege to do things while women don’t have. Now and tomorrow, the trend may be the same, but in the future I think the people mind set will change automatically and people will look at men and women not on their sex but as a human being. Now in Cambodia, I can see a number of organization support women and gives them chance to discuss the problems they face in their house as well as in the public. To my thought, if the voice of women keeps going on across the country, the praise they should deserve will be not a mystery anymore.
Living in a society, we suppose to do what most people in the society do. But sometime when the action doesn’t make sense, we tend to step ourselves back and think about it. Women are not equal to men is what we usually do in Cambodia. Though since the women right is created in Cambodia, people begin to change the way they usually think about the women. For me, I encourage my niece to go to school while her parents decide to keep her at home working. I often speak with my uncle not to beat his wife and explain what is right and it is wrong to beat own wife. Apart from this, I support the phrase that says “lady first.” And when I was in the public, I would let the lady go first. For example, in the cue at the supermarket, I would suggest lady to go the counter check point first. In my neighbor, I would help lady that carry heavy back and sometime I would walk an old lady across the road. They are all pretty simple jobs, but I think the way we act will shape the way we think in the future.
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