Mu Sochua gave a CSEAS-sponsored talk on campus on October 30 on the role of women in Cambodian politics. Sochua is the Vice-President of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) in charge of Foreign Affairs and Public Relations. Formerly, she served as Minister of Women and Veterans' Affairs in Cambodia’s coalition government from 1998 to 2004, and was also a member of Cambodia’s National Assembly, representing Battambang. Sochua left Cambodia in 2017 following a crackdown on opposition leaders and civil society, and the forcible dissolution of CNRP by the Hun Sen government.
In her ministerial work, she mobilized 12,000 women candidates to run for commune elections, with over 900 women winning and still actively promoting the women's agenda at the grassroots level. She helped create and pass the Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill, which imposes severe penalties on marital rape and abuse of minors. Her work in Cambodia also includes campaigns with men to end domestic violence and the spread of HIV/AIDS; working for the rights of female entrepreneurs; working for labor laws that provide fair wages and safe working conditions for female workers; and working for the development of communities for squatters with schools, health centers, sanitation, and employment.
In 2005, Sochua was honored with the Vital Voices Human Rights Global Leadership Award for her efforts to combat human trafficking. In 2009, she received the Eleanor Roosevelt Award from the Eleanor Roosevelt Project at George Washington University for leadership in human rights. In 2010, Sochua received the People's Choice Human Rights Award from Global Exchange.
Mu Sochua is currently a Board Member of the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights.
She received her Masters in Social Work from UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare in 1981, and was the recipient of the Elise and Walter A. Haas International Award from UC Berkeley in 2006. In 2015, Sochua was honored as Alumna of the Year by her undergraduate alma mater, San Francisco State University.
The talk was co-sponsored by Gender & Women's Studies, the Center for Race & Gender, and Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies.