After my documentary pitch, I was faced with the question: why do all- female landmine clearance teams even exist in Cambodia? I asked the person who I felt would know best, a previous contact and landmine victim – Stuart Hughes – and he got straight back to me with the following answer: (I found it a very interesting hypothesis)
Quite simply, a generation of men were exterminated by the Khmer rouge, opening the way for women to take on traditionally “male” roles. Many of the men who could have worked as Deminers were killed – which is why the percentage of people under 30 in Cambodia is so high.
Also, you’ve got the traditional Khmer gender roles of subservience to men being subverted by women Deminers, which is a really interesting dynamic.
Have a read of this (‘Women in Cambodian Society’) http://www.seasite.niu.edu/khmer/ledgerwood/women.htm