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UN Releases Report Showing Gender Inequality in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH: The United Nations has released an in-depth report on gender equality in Cambodia, which found that significant gender inequalities continue to occur, hindering women's participation in the country's daily life, culture, economy and politics, holding back sustainable inclusive development, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UN in Cambodia released the report titled "In-Depth Analysis: Gender Equality in Cambodia" on 7 March, 2021. This in-depth report highlights key areas in which the United Nations can support the Royal Government of Cambodia in better reconstruction through the inclusion of gender equality and the empowerment of women in policy and the Covid-19 Pandemic Rehabilitation Program.

The report states that Cambodia is a party to international human rights conventions, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and through a commitment to action over the past 25 years, Cambodia has become more aware of the importance of gender equality.

However, according to the report, significant gender inequalities continue to be identified, creating barriers to women's equal participation in the country's cultural, economic and political life and hindering inclusive sustainable development.

This inequality is reflected in the unequal distribution of housework and unpaid care, with women accounting for an average of 90% of that work in the country. Women spent more time on household chores and caring for family members during the Covid-19 pandemic, while 30% reported that their partners did not provide any extra help.

The report adds that some women are not paid for their work, as there are risks involved. Some unpaid work falls on older women as insurers or on girls who affect their education. Various needs in life and responsibility for unpaid work have become barriers for women to expand their business or take on leadership roles.

At the same time, the UN in Cambodia has a special position to promote gender equality, while supporting socio-economic recovery from Covid-19 and promoting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The spokesperson of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee, Katta Un, has said that the issue of gender inequality is not unique to Cambodia, it is a global issue that requires everyone's attention in order to eliminate all inequalities between women and men. He said that in Cambodia, gender equality has been strengthened since 1993, with an increasing number of women present in all sectors, especially in the private sector, where more than 90% of women are working in factories and enterprises. In addition, women also play an important role in contributing to social development in the public sector.

With that said, he continued that following the Covid-19 outbreak, most women stopped working in the private and public sectors and returned to domestic work. Nevertheless, the government has been working hard to reopen and restore all economic activities in the country since November 2021, which has provided opportunities for all people, especially women, to return to normal work.

"Thus, in Cambodia as a whole, we see that from year to year, gender equality is protected and the percentage of women entering the private sector and public works is increasing every year," said spokesperson Katta Un.

He added that the government has put in place three mechanisms for gender equality: first, to eliminate gender discrimination; second, to encourage women to be active in civil society, the public and private sectors, equal to men; and third, to give priority to women in public service.

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