Cambodia is a hierarchically ordered society with traditional cultural attitudes and norms that discriminate against women and girls and limit their choices and options. Women remain marginalized with gender disparities in rates of literacy, education, employment, and in the percentage of women in the professions and government.
The following statistics illustrate the extent of the problems facing women and young girls in Cambodia , with figures stating that 45% of women are illiterate (70% are functionally illiterate); only 16% of girls are enrolled in lower secondary school (grades 7-9); only 5% of girls are enrolled in upper secondary school; only 30% of upper secondary school students are female; only 20% of university graduates are women; only 10% of National Assembly members are women; only 6% of the female workforce is paid; only 8% of Commune Council members are women; only 7% of judges are women; 23% of women have suffered physical domestic abuse.
Although the equal rights of women are formally guaranteed in the Cambodian Constitution, they are not sufficiently safeguarded and enforced by those in the corridors of power. In addition to this, women have very limited means to call attention to discriminatory practices or other specific problems relating to gender. This is generally due to their lack of legal awareness and limited knowledge of the rights and procedures available to them in order to exercise those rights. Only when women are made more aware of their legal position and the power that it affords them, can steps be taken to begin eradicating gender inequality and violence against women in Cambodia.
With all my love, Sarvina