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Gender-based pay gap persists: Oxfam study

Garment workers prepare items of apparel for packaging at a factory in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district in 2014.
Garment workers prepare items of apparel for packaging at a factory in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district in 2014. Vireak Mai

Gender-based pay gap persists: Oxfam study

Asia’s economic success has been carried on the shoulders of poor women, whose higher load of work has been unequally compensated and undervalued, according to an Oxfam report released on Tuesday.

A number of Asian countries, including Cambodia, mandate against discrimination in hiring based on gender, according to the report – dubbed Underpaid and Undervalued. But what’s on paper doesn’t translate into reality, according to the study.

In Asia, on average, women make between 70 to 90 per cent of what men earn, the report found. Women also are responsible for the majority of unpaid work, which globally is worth about $10 trillion a year.

“One of the reasons for this is that women are disproportionately concentrated in the lowest paid roles and in informal work,” the study reads. “Seventy-five per cent of women’s work in Asia is in the informal economy, without access to benefits, such as sick pay or maternity leave.”

In Cambodia, government policy indicates that all enterprises should implement minimum wages, pointed out Mustafa Talpur, a spokesman for Oxfam. However, in reality, the measure is only implemented in the garment sector.

The report recommends, among other things, that governments also commit to raising minimum wages to living wages.

“I think collectively, we can convince governments to gradually adapt the recommendations,” Talpur said.

The Ministry of Women’s Affairs could not be reached.

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