ISI GROUP Celebrates Women's Day

Article by

Un Raksmey

On the 8th March, ISI GROUP took part in the global celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD). This internationally recognized day is a celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. It belongs to all groups collectively, everywhere.

IWD is special for ISI GROUP because, as a leading group of companies in Cambodia, we value, recognize and respect women at work, and believe in equal access to employment and education. It is important that we live this every day, but that we also take the opportunity in March to show our support for gender equity, everywhere.  

ISI GROUP CEO, Mr. Kang Leng, reiterated these values and the results of better equity at work recently. He said, “At ISI GROUP, we value diversity and gender equality. Every year there has been an increasing number of female staff across our group, which has consistently improved our growth and success.”

ISI STEEL staff celebrating Women’s Day at their office.

Unfortunately in Cambodia gender inequality is still evident, with men generally playing the leading role in most sectors. According to The Asia Foundation, Cambodian women represent over 50% of the country population, but their ability to participate in society is still limited if compared to men. Some reasons include conservative traditional norms that value women less than men, gender power imbalances, illiteracy and gender discrimination.

In saying this, nationally there has been some great steps forward for gender equality and  Women’s Day is a national public holiday, with many businesses and schools closing to celebrate the day.

At ISI GROUP, we are working to improve gender equality but recognize that we do not have equal numbers of staff yet. However, across our group, we are proud that three General Managers and 50% of our Finance Managers are female. We have also implemented a number of initiatives that support women at work, such as paid maternity leave and the inclusion of a child’s play center at our Veng Sreng office. The play center enables working mothers to return to work and also bring their child to work if they need. We want to ensure that mothers maintain access to work and that they do not become restricted when they have children.

We also acknowledge our responsibility to support women and girls in education, so they have a solid foundation and better access to work later in life.  This year, 10% of our Don Bosco scholarship students are female, which means more women are entering into and being supported in the hands-on engineering industry. We are also happy to see that two thirds of our E2STEM scholarship students are female. This majority example shows how many talented young women are building their skills across English, E-Learning, Science, Technology and Maths, bringing more diversity and talent to these industries.

ISI GROUP CEO Mr. Kang Leng with E2STEM scholarship students at Yuknthor High School. These scholarship students are sponsored by ISI GROUP’s KMH Foundation.

Across ISI GROUP, we are also proud that female staff work across roles and departments. Prom Sreyroth, Quality Control Engineer at ISI STEEL, is one of our outstanding engineers and believes strongly in the role of women.

“It’s undeniable that women play an important role in the success of a team or company. Teamwork between both women and men is more effective than a team consisting of a single sex. In fact, men and women have their own strengths in performing tasks, so if they work together, a team or company will be more successful,”  Sreyroth said.

Currently, Sreyroth  plays a key role in ensuring the safety and quality of steel products before they are sent to the factory. She is one of three Quality Control Engineers, all of whom are female.

Prom Sreyroth, Quality Control Engineer, tests the quality of steel products in ISI STEEL’s laboratory.

Shira Kaliski, Communications Coordinator/Music Teacher at Soundskool, adds to this. “If we are to achieve proper [gender] equity and equality in Cambodia ... than the inclusion of women in any company is essential. This doesn't just mean hiring women, it means treating them with respect, valuing their input just as much as a male equivalent of the same role and this also means equal pay for equal work,” she said.

To celebrate Women’s Day this year, all women in ISI GROUP were given individually wrapped the flowers with a thank you note as a token of our appreciation for their efforts. Although this is a small gesture, we are happy to highlight our female staff and reiterate the messages and values of gender equality across all of our eight companies and 1500+ staff.

Staff at Soundskool with their Women’s Day celebration flowers!

We are proud that the female staff who work at ISI GROUP are mentors and examples for the next generation of Cambodian women.

Sreynak Chet, Codingate’s Project Coordinator, is one example. She says, “To all women: If you have dream, do it and love it. Keep your mind open and learn new things everyday. Keep moving even your road is too high and try to be the best person you can be.”

ISI GROUP will continue to live out values of gender equity and gender equality everyday and contribute to creating and building a better world for all, including the amazing women that contribute invaluably to its success.

See more of our Women’s Day activities on our Facebook.