Eight women who have spent years doing their part to heal and rebuild Cambodia are among 1,000 women who have been jointly nominated for this year’s prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.
Since the first Nobel Peace Prize was handed out in 1901, only 12 women have received the award. With men historically leading countries and overseeing wars, peace negotiations and other initiatives, the accolades have commonly fallen to them.
But two years ago, a Swiss organization decided that the important role women play—many of them working in villages and remote regions—should be recognized by a joint nomination that, if successful, will see all the women share the award.
The list of names, drawn from 150 countries, was made public Thursday and included seven Cambodian women and an Australian woman who has been working in Cambodia for several years.
“Waiting for peace will never make it happen,” opposition lawmaker and nominees Mu Sochua said last week before heading to the US. “It is never handed out.”
Fellow nominee Boua Chanthou, director of NGO Partnership for Development in Kampuchea which is trying to encourage trust and a sense of community in the country, said Cambodians, especially women, have long struggled for their rights and peace.
“Cambodian women have suffered a lot,” she said Sunday. “Even after the UN elections, the situation of women has not improved.”
Over the last six months, all 1,000 women have been interviewed and photographed and their stories included in a book highlighting their accomplishments.
Also nominated were Licadho president Kek Galabru, Center for Social Development President Chea Vannath, Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center President Oung Chanthol, Oddom Van Syvorn of the Dhammayietra Center for Peace and Nonviolence, Prak Sokhany of Australian Catholic Relief and Australian national Emma Leslie of the Action Asia Network.
The 2005 Nobel Peace Prize winner is expected to be announced in October with the book to be released around the same time.