Women leaders
Women's organizations


Located in the mainland Southeast Asian region, Cambodia is bordered by Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and the Gulf of Thailand. Primarily an agricultural country, it has a per capita income of US$270.

Cambodia has a population of more than 11 million, 35% of which are literate (CIA Statistics). Most Cambodian practices Theraveda Buddhism and speaks the language, Khmer. A small number of Cambodians speak French, Chinese and English.

Cambodia is a Constitutional Monarchy. A democratically elected Prime Minister heads the government; a National Assembly is composed of 120 representatives. The voting age is 18. The reigning monarch is King Norodom Sihamoni, but his duties are mainly ceremonial. The current Prime Minister is Hun Sen. The first democratically elected leader in recent times, Norodom Ranariddh, was overthrown in a coup staged by Hun Sen in July 1997. Hun Sen was subsequently elected Prime Minister in elections in July 1998, but many human rights organizations maintain that the elections were severely flawed by a climate of violence and intimidation. Recently, the political situation has stabilized, but serious problems of corruption and impunity remain.

Links to Cambodia 


Women's situation
Domestic and international NGO workers report that violence against women, including rape and domestic violence, is common.  Although accurate statistics are not available, one local NGO reported 138 incidents of rape and domestic abuse through October.  Authorities normally decline to become involved in domestic disputes, and the victims frequently are reluctant to complain.  Rape is unlawful, as is assault.  Spousal rape and domestic abuse are not recognized as separate crimes.

Prostitution and trafficking in women are serious problems.  Due in part to budgetary limitations, the Government has not enforced effectively a 1996 law against prostitution and trafficking in women although the Government devoted greater attention to the problem during the past year and initiated several prosecutions.  Despite sporadic government crackdowns on brothel operators in Phnom Penh, prostitution continues to flourish.  A survey by a local human rights NGO found that 40 percent of women and girls who work as prostitutes do so voluntarily, while 60 percent have been forced to work as prostitutes or have been deceived into prostitution.  The NGO also estimated that there are up to 55,000 sex workers in the country.  At year's end, the Government had begun preparation of legislation to decriminalize and regulate prostitution as part of a package of legal measures designed to address the problem of sexual trafficking of women and children.

The Constitution contains explicit language providing for equal rights for women, equal pay for equal work, and equal status in marriage.  In practice women have equal property rights with men, have the same status in bringing divorce proceedings, and have equal access to education and some jobs.  However, cultural traditions continue to limit the ability of women to reach senior positions in business and other areas.

According to NGO reports, women comprise 52 percent of the population, 60 percent of agricultural workers, 85 percent of the business work force, 70 percent of the industrial work force, and 60 percent of all service sector workers.  Women often are concentrated in low-paying jobs in these sectors and largely are excluded from management positions.

There are a large number of active women's NGO's that train poor women and widows and address social problems such as spousal abuse, prostitution, and trafficking.  An active women's media center NGO produces and broadcasts programming on women's issues.  NGO's provide shelters from women in crisis. Read more from this report.


Important political facts

Government type:  Constitutional Monarchy; Parliamentary Representative Democracy

Head of state: The King Norodom Sihamoni.

Legislature: Bicameral. The lower chamber called as the National Assembly of Cambodia  Radhsphea Ney Preah Recheanachakr Kampuchea has 122 members, directly elected for a five-year term by proportional representation. The Sénat has 61 members, who are appointed by the King on recommendation of the parties in the National Assembly. Last general appointment is 25 March 1999. Its membership was determined in proportion to the results of the 1998 legislative elections, with senators serving a five-year term.

Executive: The head of the government is the Prime Minister, responsible to the National Assembly but appointed by the King. The present Prime Minister is Hun Sen. The members of the Cabinet or the Council of Ministers are appointed by the King.

 Most recent elections: Legislative: July 2008

 Major parties

Cambodian People's Party
Head: Chea Sim
Number of seats in the National Assembly: 69

United National Front for a Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia
Head: Prince Norodom Ranariddh
Number of seats in the National Assembly: 26

Pak Sam Rains
Head: Sam Rainsy
Number of seats in the National Assembly: 28



Political resources on Cambodia

Other links

Foreign embassies in Cambodia
Embassies in Cambodia
Embassies of Cambodia
List of Non-profit organizations in Cambodia
Media Organizations
NGOs and community-based organizations involved in anti-trafficking of children
Online Resources to Cambodia



Links to Cambodia

Women's situation
Important political facts
Political resources
Other links