Mu Sochua, Member of Parliament, Cambodia

Clearly, Mu Sochua (who I met a few years ago at a feminist development conference) understands the power of the network which she reached out to via a blog post from prison . There is no peace without justice, she wrote. There is no human rights without freedoms of speech and of assembly. There is another factor here as well, one that Ive written about before. The power of the global movement to empower women has grown via the networked world. It has leveled the playing field, and provided a platform for a faster track to equality. It is a network that shares powerful voices freely and respectfully, even amidst political disagreement. Mu Sochuas story is a striking one. After 18 years in exile (she was sent away by here parents as a teenager in the violent 1970s), Mu returned to Cambodia in 1989 and served as adviser on womens affairs to the prime minister, was elected to the national assembly and was minister of womens and a veterans affairs from 1998 to 2004, a position she relinquished to join the Sam Rainsy Party, the leading opposition party in Cambodia. In 2002 she mobilized 12,000 women candidates to run for commune elections, with over 900 women winning and still actively promoting the womens agenda at the grass-roots level.
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