Cambodia’s gender equality is at East Asia’s very bottom, says watchdog organization

In terms of gender equity Cambodia is the country with the largest gap in the East Asia & Pacific region.

This is made apparent by the publication of the Gender Equity Index (GEI) 2012, published by Social Watch on the eve of Women’s International Day, March 8.

The index prepared annually by Social Watch measures the gap between women and men in education the economy and political empowerment. The index is an average of the inequalities in the three dimensions. In literacy, it examines the gender gap in enrolment at all levels; economic participation computes the gaps in income and employment; empowerment measures the gaps in highly qualified jobs, parliament and senior executive positions.

Social Watch measures the gap between women and men, not their wellbeing. Thus, a country in which young men and women have equal access to the university receives a value of 100 on this particular indicator. in the same fashion, a country in which boys and girls are equally barred from completing primary education would also be awarded a value of 100. This does not mean that the quality of education in both cases is the same. It just establishes that, in both cases girls are not less educated than boys.

Cambodia’s 55 points rank it among those countries with VERY LOW GEI, far below the East Asia & Pacific’s average, which stands at 69. No country in the region is below Cambodia. One step ahead are Lao PDR and Malaysia, both with 56.

The best and worst 15 countries in the GEI 2012

The region is led by New Zealand (82), Monglia (81) and Australia (80).

The five levels according to which the index measures the gender gap are: CRITICAL, VERY LOW, LOW, MEDIUM AND ACCEPTABLE, It should be noted that no country has reached 90 points or more, meaning that no country has yet reached the ACCEPTABLE level.

The dimensions in which Cambodia reaches a low value are education (71 points)and economic participation (73), while in empowerment the country’s performance is even less praiseworthy: 21 (CRITICAL).

At a world level, the countries that have achieved a better score are Norway (89), Finland (88), and Iceland (87), which place them as countries with a MEDIUM GEI. 

Out of the 168 countries computed by the 2012 IEG those five in the worst global situation are Congo Rep (29), Niger (26), Tchad (25), Yemen (24) and Afghanistan (15).

Social Watch members are spread across all regions. The network fights for the eradication of poverty and its causes, the elimination of all forms of discrimination and racism and to ensure an equitable distribution of wealth and the realization of human rights.

For a detailed description of methodology and sources see