For Cambodian Women, Equality Starts in the Home

The unequal distribution of household chores affects Cambodian women’s economic inclusion.

There is no country in the world where men and women perform an equal share of unpaid care or household work. According to a report released by International Labor Organization (ILO) in 2018 on care work and care jobs, in the Asia-Pacific, women disproportionately spend more time – up to four times more – on unpaid care work compared to men.

In Cambodia, the imbalance is particularly severe. Cambodian men, as husbands, perform only one-tenth of their families’ caring and household services per day, while women perform the vast majority of the cooking, cleaning, and direct care work. Cambodian men spend 18 minutes on this work per day compared with the 188 minutes spent by women, according to the ILO. Shockingly, out of the 67 countries surveyed in the report, it is Cambodia’s men who spend the least amount of time contributing to this type of labor.

This enormous gap needs to be closed in order for our society to achieve full economic and societal inclusion of women. Without a proper solution to this issue, the unfair allocation of household chores will continue to impact women’s opportunities for economic participation and broader societal contribution.

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