In both locations, the issue of land rights is being framed, at least in part, as a women’s issue. This is partially out of necessity; in Boeung Kak, Areng, and many other communities around Cambodia, men migrate, permanently or seasonally, for work, leaving women at home (more and more women, especially younger women also migrate for work, but it is still largely a male phenomenon). The women have thus been more affected by the loss of land and houses. While men have been able to migrate for new jobs, due to family responsibilities the woman are more tied to a geographic location, even to the small scale of a neighborhood, and thus have had less flexibility in finding new work and housing. For the women of Areng, the question is further complicated by the geographic remoteness of the valley and the stronger cultural traditions in the rural areas that do not encourage women to leave home.
However, framing land rights as a women’s issues is also strategic, and the women involved in the land rights network are working closely with NGOs and lawyers to craft a strategy and set of tactics that will help them reach their goals. The Boeung Kak women, in particular, have found that protests tend to be less violent when women are at the forefront, that police are somewhat less willing to beat female protestors, and that the beatings and arrests of female protestors have garnered more attention, and generated more criticism of the police and government, than when violence is perpetrated against male protestors.