Yang Sophorn is Cambodia’s most prominent woman trade unionist. A unionist for more than a decade, Sophorn has organized and led her 10,000 members to major victories. Among the six major union federations in Cambodia, there is just one entirely run by women at the top level: the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Union (CATU). As union president, Sophorn represents around 10,000 members in 21 factories – and counting --. She plays a leading role in national campaigns to win a fair wage and to protect workers’ fundamental rights in the face of restrictive Cambodian trade union laws. Sohphorn has faced threats, intimidation and violence in retaliation for her activism. Despite all of this, she remains committed to her mission of bringing more women workers into union leadership, and to the leading the forefront of the Cambodian worker movement in the implementation of a nationwide living wag “My message to other women workers who aren’t involved in organizing is the same thing I tell myself when things are challenging: you have to fight to get what you want, and you have to be strong to fight. You have two choices in life: either fight and win, or fight and lose. But if you don’t fight, you’ll never have a chance.” -Yang Sophorn, President of CATU
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