Cambodia’s First Female Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister

Tong Siv Eng (October 31, 1919 – June 12, 2001): Cambodia’s First Female Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister.

She was the daughter of a school principal who encouraged her to pursue her education. She was offered a scholarship to study in Saigon because there was no secondary school for women in Cambodia.

She married the courtier Pung Peng Cheng in 1939 after she returned to Cambodia.

She was a tutor for the royal children, and she and her husband became king Sihanouk’s closest advisors.

Women’s suffrage was introduced in Cambodia in 1958, and Tong Siv Eng became the first and only woman elected to parliament in the same year’s elections.

She was a state secretary from 1958 to 1959, a minister of Social Action from 1959 to 1961, and a minister of Health from 1963 to 1968.

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