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Penh Lenh

Shop to impact in Cambodia

Men are gold, women are a white cloth

Penh Lenh was founded in 2013 as Rachel Dodson left her job as a modelling agent in New York City. During a travel to Cambodia, she saw the need for women to be educated and provided with self-sustaining jobs. With a shared passion for empowering women, Rachel and her Cambodian friend Srey Mao launched the brand Penh Lenh.

The fashion industry is one of the largest employers of women worldwide, yet is particularly likely to exploit its’ employees through low wages, excessive hours, and toxic working environments. Penh Lenh is deeply committed to promoting equality and combating these industries through providing their artisans with:

  • Salaries average 30-40% above garment industry standards

  • 5 day / 40 hour work week (the standard in Cambodia is 6 days / 48 hours)

  • Proper 150% Overtime Pay when staff works more than 40 hours, plus 200% Holiday Pay

  • Paid vacation, sick, and holidays

  • 3 months paid maternity leave

  • Medical & Dental insurance for all Full-time staff

  • Subsidized food program

  • Weekly English classes, with additional educational opportunities

All the products are handmade in workshops in Phnom Penh, by young women working to build healthy lives for themselves and their families. The social enterprise is committed to producing 100% ethically-sourced, responsibly-made goods, with the highest quality materials - using semi-precious gemstone beads, handcrafted 14k gold-filled chains, clasps with gold-plated cones, hand-sewn and locally sourced repurposed fabrics. Each piece takes the women between 30 minutes to 2 hours to create.

Cambodia ranks as one of Southeast Asia’s poorest nations. It is said that over 70% of women working in Cambodia are in vulnerable employment and a woman is likely to earn 55% less than a man. With social attitudes in Cambodia that favour men and discriminate against women, there is a long way to achieve gender equality.

There is a saying in Cambodia that goes “men are gold, women are a white cloth”, which implies that men are strong and can’t lose their value, while women once dirty, are stained forever.


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