UNDP Launches Report on Cambodia’s Gender Wage Gap

March 11, 2021

Phnom Penh, 11 March 2021 – The UN Development Programme (UNDP) launched today a report on the ongoing wage gap between women and men in Cambodia. The report covers evolving trends and factors that affect the wage gap.

To analyze this gap, the report uses data from the Cambodia Socio-Economic Surveys (CSES) of 2014, 2017 and 2019, and employs the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition method. Based on the CSES 2019 and a statistical correction for selection bias, the gender wage gap between women and men is 19%.

Several contributing factors are identified in the report. The Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition shows that gender disparities in education and experience explain a respective 6% and 14% of the wage gap. Overrepresentation of women in low-skilled occupations explains a further 4%.

However, unobservable characteristics, which are usually interpreted as evidence of labour market discrimination but could also be a result of other factors such as soft skills or quality of education that are not captured in the survey, explain 105% of the wage gap.

Among demographic characteristics, marital status was found to be the most important determinant of women’s wage employment, reducing married women’s likelihood to have paid employment by 38%. An increase in family size and head of household’s education level, on the other hand, increase the likelihood of women becoming wage workers.

“In Cambodia, women earn, on average, 19% less for the same work as men. This is about the rights of women to equality – but it’s also about the opportunity to create a more effective and efficient labor market. If we can do that, we can increase prosperity for all – women and men, girls and boys,” commented Nick Beresford, UNDP Cambodia’s Resident Representative.

UNDP continues to support the advancement of women in Cambodia, including through support to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs in the review and development of Neary Rattanak and Cambodia’s Gender Policy. A number of UNDP programmes also focus on expanding women’s participation in social, economic and political activities. These programmes include promoting women entrepreneurs through incubation, acceleration and digitalization of their businesses, encouraging women’s participation and leadership in forest protection, supporting mine clearance actors to increase women’s engagement in clearance operations, and working with women farmers to improve climate-smart agriculture techniques.


For media inquiries, please contact Mr. Im Samruol, UNDP Cambodia’s Head of Communications, at samruol.im@undp.org.

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet. Learn more at https://www.kh.undp.org/ or follow us at @UNDPCambodia.

Press Release (Khmer) https://www.kh.undp.org/content/cambodia/km/home/_-news-centre/_-press-release/2021/undp-_-_.html

Full Report: https://www.kh.undp.org/content/cambodia/en/home/library/the-gender-wage-gap-in-cambodia.html