Index Shows Little Progress on Gender Equality

Cambodia has made little progress on gender equality and is the lowest-ranked country in the region, according to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 2013 Gender Gap Index released Friday, slipping a place from last year to rank 104 out of 136 countries.

The index examines the gap between men and women in four broad areas: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment.

Cambodia’s overall equality score this year was 0.651 out of 1, a slight im­provement on 2012 when the country scored 0.646. The higher score is mainly due to small increases in educational equality—which focuses on literacy and enrollment in all levels of education—and economic participation, which looks at wage equality and the number of women working professionally.

Cambodia has fallen five places in its political empowerment ranking, measured by the number of wom­en in parliament and ministerial positions, leaving the country 96th.

Only in the health and survival category did Cambodia beat the in­ternational average of 0.957 with a score of 0.980, with life expectancy and sex ratio at birth of men and women almost on par.

Yet Cambodia must make progress if it is to achieve overall parity with other countries in the region.

Laos, Thailand and Vietnam ranked 60, 65 and 73 respectively, while Indo­nesia and Singapore placed 95 and 58.

“With 67 percent of the gender gap closed, the Asia and the Pacific region occupies the fourth place out of six regions this year on the overall score,” the report says—however in terms of im­provements made between 2012 and 2013, the Asia-Pacific is the second best performing region.

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