Considerations of women and power in Cambodian history are contradictory. On one hand, creation mythology attests to queens who ruled in their own right. Conversely, didactic codes, representing 'traditional' Cambodian social values from a time before the colonisation of Cambodia by the French, are paraded as models for correct behaviour in which women are relegated to a subservient and supporting role. Of these diametrically opposing images of women in Cambodian history, which is the most accurate? This thesis examines the relationship between women and power in Cambodia from the earliest historical period, circa 230 CE, until the parliamentary elections of July 2003, determining the extent to which Cambodian women exercised political and ideological power and identifying obstacles in the wielding of power. The impact of foreign cultural and political influences, from brāḥmaṇical religions to Marxist-Leninist ideology, from colonialism to globalisation, are discussed, as is the question of why post-colonial and post-revolutionary Cambodia reverted to constructions of gender that were direct legacies of the colonial period. Finally, this thesis argues that the history of Cambodia must be revised to reflect the important role women have played in political organisation and social life, and addresses the question of what of what power has meant in the Cambodian past.