(27 Nov 2016) FOR CLEAN VERSION SEE STORY NUMBER: 4065928
Girl power is driving a new tourism business in Cambodia's capital.
An all-female tour company is offering customised motorcycle tours of Phnom Penh aiming to ease the gender imbalance of the male-dominated moto-taxi industry.
Standing tall against gender stereotypes.
These are the Motogirls - an all-female company offering guided moped tours in and around the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.
With their bright red T-shirts and motorised scooters, the MotogirlTour guides stand out in traffic.
MotogirlTour launched last December and claims to be the first of it's kind in this socially conservative country where gender roles are often clearly defined and the lines are rarely crossed.
Driving people around on motorbikes for pay has long been a male-only preserve in Cambodia, with only a handful of women doing the job in the whole country.
MotogirlTour was set up by 25-year-old university student Chea Renou, who quit her desk job as an accountant to start the business.
She says she spotted a hole in the moto-tour market for women travelling alone.
"We think there are many tourists - mainly women, who travel alone and who are concerned about their safety when they travel to new or unfamiliar countries or places," says Chea.
"It can be a worry for them when they don't know the place or anybody living there. If a person like that goes with us and chooses a woman to take her around, she will feel not afraid anymore."
Crossing the gender barrier was not easy for drivers like Horm Nich, who says her parents were strongly opposed to the idea at first.
"When I said I wanted to become a female moto-driver my parents reacted badly and they would not allow me to join the group," says Horm.
"I asked them why and they said it was because it was not safe and that in Cambodia, when girls work outside, for example as a moto driver, it's easy for the men to touch them or to cheat them. They said it was not good because firstly it's against our traditions and secondly, because we are 'good' girls, we should not allow men an opportunity to touch us."
Despite their parents' reservations, the women pushed ahead and today they operate a small but successful business employing six women part-time, all university students or young professionals.
Most of the company's booking come through their website or through word of mouth.
American tourist Whitney Koelling heard about MotogirlTour from a fellow student at a women's empowerment course in Goa, India.
She says she chose the all-female company because she was nervous about using an unknown male moto-driver picked up on the street.
"I think it's much safer to travel with a group of women," says Koelling.
"I don't really feel comfortable coming up to someone on the street and asking them to take me to far away places, so it was really nice to be with someone I can trust and someone who was more reliable I guess. And also someone who speaks English too, that was very helpful so, I got to hear more about Phnom Penh that way."
MotogirlTour offers five different tour options, stopping off at attractions such as the Independence Monument, the National Museum and markets including here at the famous Central Market.
The guides share their lives and lifestyles with the customers, but the tours don't yet incorporate much historical information.
"In here they have a lot of souvenirs, for tourists to come here to buy the souvenirs for their family," says Chea to her customer.
Whitney Koelling, on her first visit to Cambodia, says that paying a little more for a female guide was definitely worth the price.
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