“If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by what we are—we can all be free”. This was said by Emma Watson at a UN HeforShe conference, a movement that helps battle gender inequality. Women in desperate situations around the world in past instances have been subjected to horrible conditions and violence.
For example, the United Nations Women’s Committee stated that in Bangladesh after experiencing a monsoon, children and women are commonly left to poor conditions because they have not been taught to swim. Another common gender equality issue is women’s education. Found in a study by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization), focusing on children who do not receive an education after primary school, 58 percent of the children are girls, because they can not be kept home to look after the house by their families, or are forced to leave during war.
Also, in more traditional cultures, women are valued less than their male counterparts. The gender gap can be most evidently found in China for instance, where, in 2009, men under 20 were estimated to outnumber women by 32 million. In 2005, the proportion of male to female births was 120 to 100.
The gap is because, in more traditional cultures, girls can be aborted or abandoned until families have a son to care for them in their old age.The UN has placed many measures to try and combat gender inequality. One of the greatest examples is CEDAW.
This acronym stands for Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Britannica describes it as a convention that includes 30 articles that protect Women’s Rights, and the Humanitarian actions that follow. CEDAW was approved in 1979, and since its founding has focused on topics such as reproductive rights, and women’s education.
In the introductory article, it reads “Any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.” The UN has also developed platforms for women to help combat gender inequality such as UN Women, who have their own online mediums to spread messages of important women’s issues facing us today. Cambodia has taken initiative to improve its rights for women by creating councils such as the CNCW ( The Cambodia National Council for Women),and MoWA (Ministry of Women’s Affairs).
Since 1992, they have also been apart of CEDAW. The main issues with women’s rights in Cambodia are living conditions, and how this affects birth and abuse. This makes it much harder for the country to handle issues such as gender discrimination. It is more common for women to be victims of abuse, with 64 percent of people in 2005 who were asked about the situation of gender violence from husband to wife and said that they were aware of such violence. Cambodia’s efforts to help this have proven successful, as in 2009, only 53 percent of people answered yes to this question.
This demonstrates how Cambodia’s efforts to improve life for women are succeeding. In the event of an assault, Cambodian women can also have weak support from the government, as said by LICADHO, who is an organization for human rights, and is trying to improve the lives of these women in Cambodia.