Encouraging Women to Step Out of Traditional Gender Roles

Rin Sethneary was born to advocate for women’s rights, with her birthday falling on International Women’s Day and her name translating as gender equality - and she is living up to her namesake
Rin Sethneary speaks at the Ignite Phnom Penh Season 8 on February 26, 2023. Kiripost via Ignite 8
Rin Sethneary speaks at the Ignite Phnom Penh Season 8 on February 26, 2023. Kiripost via Ignite 8

Sethneary was born on March 8, the day the world marks International Women’s Day. Aptly, her name means women’s rights in English and she stands for gender equality.

Rin Sethneary, 23, spoke at the Ignite Phnom Penh Season 8 on February 26, which saw about 500 attendees gather at Cambodia-Korea Cooperation Centre (CKCC). Her talk was held under the theme, Aim high: Bad but good.

Sethneary is a Marketing and Media Manager Assistant at COSTMEBEAUTY, a beauty, cosmetic, and personal care company in Cambodia.

During her talk at Ignite Phnom Penh Season 8, Sethneary encouraged women to be themselves, acknowledge weaknesses, and overcome them by building networks.

She challenged traditional gender roles and encouraged women to take initiatives in friendships and collaborations. Ultimately, Sethneary believes all women are queens when they seek help and have support.

Sethneary was one among other female speakers who believes that aiming high does not necessarily mean becoming a billionaire. Instead, it means having the confidence to stand by your own beliefs and convictions. Although some may view it as a negative trait, she sees it as a positive attribute that benefits both herself and those around her.

Despite excelling academically in high school, Sethneary faced criticism from some of her teachers due to her distinctive personality and refusal to adhere to societal norms. However, she persevered and has become a successful content creator, writer, and author.

Rin Sethneary speaks at the Ignite Phnom Penh Season 8 on February 26, 2023. Kiripost via Ignite 8
Rin Sethneary speaks at the Ignite Phnom Penh Season 8 on February 26, 2023. Kiripost via Ignite 8
Despite traditional gender roles suggesting that women should wait for men to approach them, Sethneary has always been unafraid to make the first move in male friendships or business collaborations. She believes that modern women should focus on building networks and seek support from others, rather than being held back by societal expectations.

There is a traditional adage that says a woman is a folded skirt, meaning she is literally a disciplined and gentle person. Sethneary emphasized that they always say that it is degrading for a woman to pursue a man or to beg for male attention, which is why many women end up acting like toys, waiting for men or other people to come to them.

The challenge is the traditional notion of women being regarded as submissive and inferior, a belief that has been widely accepted for generations. As a result, she has observed that numerous women are in love but lack the courage to confess, and others miss out on potential relationships in their personal, professional, and romantic lives.

Despite living in a digitalized world, society encourages women to be confident, strong, and independent. However, Sethneary encourages all women to be themselves. Additionally, being a strong woman does not mean doing everything alone without help.

“A strong woman acknowledges her weaknesses and strives to address them.”

In the era of digitization, Sethneary lives in a world of social media where she is not afraid to add male friends first. In fact, she has more male than female friends and is not scared to ask male friends to go out for dinner together.

The old traditional perceptive people tend to judge a book by its cover and consider it inappropriate for women to initiate contact with men, which can harm their reputation. However, she does not think negatively about it. She believes that it is a simple technique for modern women to make friends, build a network, and overcome their weaknesses.

Sethneary has acknowledged her weaknesses in the field of technology and believes that she needs to improve in this area. She is open to making connections and networking with individuals who excel in this field, with the aim of building a strong network and potentially finding partners to collaborate with her work.

Ultimately, Sethneary said, “All women are queens for themselves when they seek help, and queens when they fall and have supporters behind them.”

She added that it is not a bad idea to prioritize doing good things for oneself, but when faced with rejection or criticism, it's essential to consider if the opinions of those who are not supportive are worth listening to. If you believe that what you're doing is right, it's important to stand firm in your own opinion.