Cambodia Joins First Women’s Forum in Singapore

In a promising sign of the state of women’s rights in the Kingdom, Cambodia sent its first delegation to the Women’s Forum Singapore 2018, the first edition of the global Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society to take place in Singapore, and Geeks in Cambodia was honoured to have been invited along.

Making a splash on its first visit, the 50 delegates from Cambodia formed the largest contingent of any country, and included many prominent Cambodians participating as panelists and speakers throughout the three-day forum, including National Bank of Cambodia Director General Chea Serey spoke on impactful investment in women’s leadership; Women’s Affairs Minister Dr. Ing Kantha Phavi shared her insights into bridging the aspiration gap; and H.E. Eva Nguyen Binh, French Ambassador to Cambodia, spoke at the closing plenary titled “Bridging Asia’s Gender Gaps.” Special mention for H.E. Nguyen Binh’s support for the Cambodian delegation, and initiating the efforts to take so many amazing people to Singapore to represent Cambodia!

The 2018 forum opened on September 12, and brought together more than 1,000 leaders of various cultural institutions, public sector officials, and various private industries from across ASEAN, Europe, China, India and more.

Geeks was represented by Adrienne Ravez, co-founder, and active advocate for women in business in Cambodia.

“It was clear that innovative visions of a world with more women in positions of influence were conveyed in the panels and presentations I attended, and it was an amazing opportunity to meet and hear so many influential speakers from across the world,” she said.

One highlight of the Forum for her was listening to Fleur Pellerin, Founder and CEO of digital-focused VC firm Korelya Capital and former French Minister for SMEs, Innovation and the Digital Economy, speak about how diversity leads to greater innovation for communities, businesses, and governments.

“She is one of my role models and it was really inspiring to hear her talking about the role model effect on women in business, and how important it was for companies nowadays to have a vision, a purpose, and a story to tell in order to attract talent,” Ms. Ravez noted.

Audiences and participants were treated to more than 20 sessions discussing a variety of topics concerning major social and economic issues from female perspectives, including climate change, and STEM education and participation.

At the Forum’s pitching event, held at Facebook’s Singapore office, ten women-led early-stage startups pitched their ideas for the chance to win a trip to Paris for the Women’s World Global Forum. CamboBioGreen, a Cambodian sustainability startup represented Cambodia, and received positive comments on their ideas for making biodegradable packaging made from cassava.

It was amazing to see so many interesting, talented and important women together in Asia talking about successes and challenges. We learnt a lot, and who knows, maybe soon Cambodia can host a Women’s Forum!

Here are some of the most memorable quotes said by the fantastic speakers: