Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ILO: women still lag behind in education




ILO: women still lag behind in education

ILO: women still lag behind in education

Despite making some gains, Cambodian women continue to fall well short of their male counterparts when it comes to education and position in the labour market, a study released yesterday by the International Labor Organization reports.

Men account for just five per cent more of Cambodia’s approximately 7.4 million-person workforce, but earn about $25 per month more than women, the study says.

That disparity is likely linked to inequality in education received, said Ros Sopheap, executive director of NGO Gender and Development for Cambodia.

“There are some changes if you compare to 10 years before, but the changes have not come as far as we want,” Sopheap said yesterday. “In Cambodia, they believe men have an important role in the family to study higher education.… Girls are encouraged to stop studying, to contribute to the household income.”

The ILO’s Labour Force Report, which surveyed Cambodia’s labour market and child labour last year, says that more than 1.14 million women reported never having attended school. That figure is more than double that of men surveyed.

Reasons the women provided to surveyors for never attending school fall closely in line with Sopheap’s hypothesis: 12.7 per cent said their parents would not allow it, the study reported. Other reasons included the inability to pay for schooling and living too far from a school.

Although more women than men have completed primary school (by a margin of more than 525,000), they account for only 43 per cent of the Kingdom’s secondary school graduates and 32 per cent of those who completed university.

A decreasing ratio of women to men attending school from primary education to higher levels places them in a more vulnerable position when they enter the workforce, Sopheap said.

“When you get higher education, you’re not subject to exploitation,” Sopheap said. Cambodia’s garment industry provides an example of women’s precarious position in the labour market, she added.

More than 80 per cent of Cambodia’s unionised garment workers are women, according to ILO’s report. But factories are known country-wide to offer poor working conditions where fainting is endemic and the $75 per month minimum salary falls well below the Asia Floor Wage Alliance of $281 per month.

But despite the numbers, women who never attend or drop out of school are largely aware that education begets more opportunities, and want to further their education, Sopheap said.

A rising literacy rate among working-age (15 years or older) Cambodians, may reflect this desire. The Kingdom saw a two per cent increase of literate workers according to the report, but the largest increase in this category came from rural women.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15