The students of today are the workers of tomorrow. Shaping the views of young people while at school can influence their future actions when they enter the world of work. This is why CARE is working with students in Cambodian secondary schools to explore why they should take action to stop sexual harassment.
CARE Cambodia has worked for many years in secondary schools in the north-east of Cambodia to ensure girls from ethnic minorities can access quality education without discrimination and support students to gain a 21st Century education that equips them with skills to succeed in the modern workplace. It seemed only logical that respecting women as equals without harassment or discrimination should be part of this education.
The journey began in 2016 with the WhyStop Short Film Competition, a campaign aiming to engage with young men and boys to change their attitudes and behaviours. Students from over 50 high schools, universities and youth groups were invited to create their own videos on why sexual harassment should stop. The winning films showed powerful stories highlighting the negative impact of sexual harassment in many ways.
But the messages didn’t stop there and the WhyStop videos are continuing to make young
people think critically about the consequences of their actions. In partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, CARE is working in selected schools to trial using the voices of these young filmmakers to change attitudes and develop a new generation of champions for respecting women as equals.
A 14-year-old boy who joined one of the first trainings is already taking this step: “Men and women should be treated equally, because we are human beings. What the men can do, the women can do as well. If someone sexually harasses others, I will tell them that no one respects someone who does this.”
Students also see how this is directly relevant to their future career. “I wish to work with people who give me respect and work together as a team,” said one 14-year-old girl. “
To mark International Women’s Day, even more schools in Ratanak Kiri are holding special events for students to play games, sing karaoke songs, and share their own messages on facebook about what action they will take to respect women at school and in their future work.
The WhyStop Short Film Competition was developed by CARE with funding from the Australian Government and the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women. Content from this is being adapted for use in schools with the support of the Australian Government.