A Women’s InterChamber networking event has been hosted by AmCham, EuroCham, AusCham, and BritCham providing a networking opportunity and raising breast cancer awareness as Cambodia reports an estimated $1.5 billion a year cost from non-communicable diseases.
Hosted at the Himarawi Hotel in Phnom Penh the event also served as a platform for both the public and private sectors to meet and share their experiences.
Attending the event was the Minister of Women Affairs H.E Dr. Ing Kantha Phavi and two breast cancer survivors were also invited to attend and encourage other women to take care of their health.
Kim Tol Tan, Amcham Women’s Committee President spoke with Cambodia Investment Review and praised the collaboration as one of the key factors in the event’s success.
“The main goals of the event were to have the four chambers come together and collaborate, provide a networking opportunity among women from the different chambers, and also take the opportunity to increase awareness of breast cancer through education during breast cancer awareness month,” she said.
Cambodia’s business women to come to work together, learn, and help each other
Ginny Wolfe, Auscham Executive Director said the event was an opportunity for women to come to work together, learn, and help each other adding it’s a rare event where women from different communities have a chance to make new connections and create new opportunities.
“It’s important for women to work together, learn from each other, and help each other. It’s the reason we know it is important for Chambers of Commerce to hold joint events where women from different communities have a chance to make new connections and create new opportunities. In this event, we were also honored to hear about the importance of breast cancer screening.” she said.
Jane Wilding, Britcham Executive Director said she was also delighted to partner with Amcham, Eurocham, and Auscham to host an amazing women’s networking event under the “Think Pink, Wear Pink” concept.
“It was a great opportunity to elevate the conversation on breast cancer, risk factors, and possible prevention, early detection, and treatment, and it was our great honor to have H.E Dr Ing Kantha Phavi at our event to share her support for our initiative,” she said.
Collaboration between Cambodia’s business chambers
From Eurocham’s perspective, they were delighted to be a part of the collaboration, especially seeing Cambodia’s business women come together as a unit.
Géraldine Adolh, Eurocham board member shared her thoughts on the event saying: “Having events specifically catered to women is important because often women can be priced out of events due to the gender pay gap. Additionally, women seem less likely to go to events because company representation is often male-dominated.”
“I was pleased to hear women tell me they enjoyed the event and came because it was an interchamber opportunity to network,” she added.
Lao Thonary, on the breast cancer survivors shared her journey saying she lost all hope of living after hearing the result. Saying that at 35 years old she hurried to get the treatment required and tried her best to fight by having her family on her side.
“It has taken a lot of courage to reach this point. Getting through this, I can understand that support is the biggest gift,” Thonary said.
Most importantly, the lateness in receiving effective treatment leads to a low chance of survival.
Reducing mortality among women and girls in Cambodia
Another survivor of breast cancer added the phrase, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, is right in my case. I am also the survivor of the Pol Pot regime, the survivor of the refugee camp, and why not the survivor of breast cancer?”
Similarly, she encouraged women to be aware of breast cancer, and check their bodies regularly so that they would be able to notice the change.
According to a 2020 report by the Ministry of Health in Cambodia, 23% of the population died before the age of 70 due to one of the four non-communicable diseases (cardiovascular disease, 24%; cancer, 14%; chronic respiratory disease, 4%; diabetes, 2%).
“About 60,000 people die each year from non-communicable diseases, Cambodia loses about $1.5 billion per year. That is why it is so important to celebrate this kind of event,” the Minister of Women’s affairs H.E Dr. Ing Kantha Phavi said.
“This event will contribute significantly to promoting awareness of breast cancer and reducing mortality among women and girls in Cambodia through motivation and encouragement of women and girls to receive timely and early diagnosis, which leads to a high chance of successful treatment and saving lives,” she added.