A Gender Issue in Cambodia

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The Gender issue is a worldwide issue which happens not only in the developed country, but it also happens in the developing country such as Cambodian. Even though women always take a part in society and work as a man, but they still can’t access to equal rights, offers of advantages, chance, and qualities. Cambodia is a developing country with an approximate 16.25 million populations in 2018. Men and women can enjoy their equal rights, yet it is the difference in real life. Specifically, violations, for example, sexual abuse and violence within the home still happen.

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However, many people are not educated in Cambodia still exists, relating to many factors and long-traditional. After emerging from the civil war, Cambodia became a country of widows because most of the men died in the Khmer Rouge regime more than the women. The loss of many educated people was killed since that time. Although Cambodia has achieved the time of globalization, women still have been viewed as the lower classification because of gender inequality. But, women do not have enough rights and sufficient capacity to engage in society, political, and economic.

There are many factors that women cannot access high education like men because of few points relating to security and reputation. In the context of Cambodian society in ancient time are very stick to women, they do not have to be prominent in social work or learning a lot because after married, they just need to be a housewife, and was supplied by her husband while the men are the most powerful in the family because they need to go outside for work and find the money to support their family.

In this manner, when confronting any issues, men utilize their power to solve the problems, sometimes, they use any physical abuse or any violence against women. One concept has raised up like Having a daughter like a toilet in front of the house which mean that if their daughter has made a mistake, so their family’s reputation will be disgraced and will be looking down by a neighbor. Till now, some families still using this old concept, especially in the rural areas, they said it is not necessary for women to get a high education like men. Cambodian traditional concept value women less than men.

Later on, women have played an important role in the male-overwhelmed circles of work and legislative issues in Cambodia, but the value of women in Cambodian still low. This issues happened on both with education women and uneducated women. For women who have high education and graduated from both inside and outside the country when they involve in society, one proverb from men has been raising up like women cannot do anything more than house chores. Such perception, because they think that women don’t have enough capacity and strong decision-making like men. However, if men have made something wrong, society does not pay much attention, but for women, a little fault, they expand to a big problem.

Generally, Cambodian families esteem men more than women with the proverb said that the men are like a gold even it is dropped in mud, is still a piece of gold while the women are like a white paper, if stained, will not be erased forever. Because of discrimination and contempt for women, the world decides to set up an International Women’s Day which is celebrated annually in every country. On March 8, 1994 , International Women’s Day is celebrated for the first time in Cambodia and there is a great deal of participation from women holding placards with the words “Stop Violence Against Women and Women Seeking Peace”. Beyond this, Royal Government of Cambodia established the Ministry of Women’s Affairs of Cambodia to emphasize the importance of women, as well as the promotion and value of women. The life of women in Cambodia is hard, particularly, the women who live in the rural areas. Because of uneducated, even though they work hard, they receive low-income for their family. The majority of them are agriculturists who work hard throughout the day in the fields.

Focusing on education rights, principle necessary instruction under the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport (MoEYS) comprises of 9 years, separated into elementary school, lower secondary and pre-school to upper secondary. Relating to the adult literacy rate of Cambodia population aged 15 and over who can both read and write has expanded at the national level between 2008 to 2014 for both genders. According to Cambodia Social Economic survey (CSES) in 2010, the adult literacy estimate was 77 percent for both genders, ( 69% for women and 85% for men). After the country began to develop gradually, the adult literacy rate was increased to 78.3 percent (male was about 84.5% and the female was 70.5%) in 2015, through the report of World Data Atlas.

By the way, if we look at the illiteracy rate in Cambodian population aged 15 and over who inability to read or write has increased in 2009 about 2.43 million and decreased to 2.31 million in 2015 for both sexes. However, adult female illiteracy in Cambodia was increase about 68.6 % in 2009 and decreased to 66.8% in 2015, according to World Data Atlas. Of course, the illiteracy rate in rural areas is higher than the urban, especially, women get a low chance to education fewer than men. Moreover, it’s likewise been evaluated that half of the rural women are illiterate and have not finished primary school, according to the report of The Situation of Women in Cambodia. The report said that in 2004, only 16% of Cambodian women registered for lower secondary schools. Many factors that women cannot access the education and dropped out their study.

The first factor, they are required to be at home to look after their children, siblings, and doing household chores. And some believed that if women get an education, they just write a love letter to their boyfriends, so, better to stay at home, learn how to cook and take care of the family. Other factors are relating to the poverty. For example, the school in Cambodia is free, but school outfit and study material are not, so, poverty pushes children to drop-out their education, due to the families are poor and cannot afford their children to access the education. And relating to their view that women need to be at home and take care of the family, so it is better to giving their sons to education than their daughters. Another factor that women cannot access to education because it relating to the distance between houses to school and security. As we know in rural areas, there are very few schools and distances from home to school is far.

Especially, it is not safe, as many rape cases are the serious crime that increases every year in Cambodia. Notably, in 2015, rape crime increased by 12%, according to Interior Ministry report. Further, the reported from LICADHO said that the victim’s age between 4 or 5 years old up to 15 years old had been raped. For example, young boy age 17 years old, who lives in Stung Treng’s province. The police had reported that this man has been accused of abuse no less than two girls in his village between the ages of 9 and 11 years old. This is so dangerous for young girls who travel alone in rural areas. Relating to that reason, some families in rural areas are fear to allow their daughters to go to school, because of security in their village.

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A Gender Issue In Cambodia. (2019, Apr 15). Retrieved December 1, 2022 , from

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