In 1950s and 1960s Cambodia, women with high school diplomas traveled to Phnom Penh to attend yearlong teacher training programs. Subsequently, they were deployed to provincial elementary schools across the country. State-centric narratives have suggested that under the leadership of the forward-thinking Prince Sihanouk, women had new access to educational and work spaces. These displays of modernization were crucial for a state trying to gain respect on a world stage dominated by global Cold War narratives. A closer examination of the individuals, however, reveals that many came from families that had been rising to the middle-class due to their changing relationships to the state. This presentation will use oral histories of retired female teachers to examine the juxtaposition between the new post-colonial opportunities for women and the longer history of familial shifts from localized forms of income-making to salaried positions within the state apparatus. What do their lived experiences and family histories reveal about Cold War Cambodia? To what extent did these new work opportunities affect existing gender relations? By integrating the voices of retired school teachers into the historical narrative, it becomes apparent that these supposedly monumental gains in gender equality were often considered by women as much more mundane decisions existing in the realm of familial practicalities. Moreover, their identities and experiences as the daughters from middle-class families and teachers in a post-colonial state responding to the changing global order can provide a new lens for understanding the temporalities and spatialities of Cold War Cambodia.