The SIGI 2023 profile for Cambodia provides a comprehensive overview of the state of gender equality in the country, as measured by the OECD’s Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI).1 The fifth edition of the SIGI, released in 2023, assesses 140 countries based on the level of gender-based discrimination in their social institutions. These discriminatory social institutions encompass both formal and informal laws, as well as social norms and practices that restrict women’s and girls’ access to rights, justice, empowerment opportunities and resources, thereby undermining their agency and authority.

In 2023, Cambodia obtained a SIGI score of 22, denoting low levels of discrimination, compared to an average score of 39 in Southeast Asia, denoting medium levels of discrimination, and a world average score of 29.2 The country obtained a score of 29 in the "Restricted access to productive and financial resources” dimension, followed by “Discrimination in the family” (22), “Restricted physical integrity” (18) and “Restricted civil liberties” (17).

The Cambodian legal system has evolved from unwritten customary law to statutory law. Today, it is a mixture of Cambodian customs, French-based civil law – inherited from the period of French colonisation – and common law system which results from foreign aid assistance to Cambodia’s legal and judicial reforms (Council of ASEAN Chief Justices, n.d.[2]). The Constitution of Cambodia does not refer to customary law but Article 52 of the Constitution specifies that “the Royal Government of Cambodia shall protect the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Cambodia, adopt a policy of national reconciliation to ensure national unity, and preserve good customs and traditions of the nation.”

Articles 31 and 45 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia of 1993, as amended, recognise and prohibit multiple and intersectional discrimination – which constitutes an essential element to enhance gender equality. Cambodia ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1992, without any reservations (United Nations, 1979[3]; United Nations, 2023[4]). Article 31 of the Constitution stipulates that the country recognises and respects "human rights as stipulated in the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the covenants and conventions related to human rights, women’s rights and children’s rights."

Gender-disaggregated, gender-relevant and intersectional data and indicators are essential to better identify policy areas that have strong linkages with gender. In Cambodia, Chapter 3 of the Law on Statistic of 2005, regulates the production and dissemination of gender statistics (Kingdom of Cambodia, 2005[5]).

Cambodia presents a strong national legal framework that protects women’s rights in most areas of their lives. The law grants women and men equal rights in the area of the family, and also grants them equal rights to own and use critical economic assets – land and non-land assets as well as financial services. The law also generally grants women and men equal civil and political rights.

Although Cambodia establishes the legal age of marriage at 18 years for both boys and girls, the law contains exceptions. Moreover, in practice, child marriage remains an issue in Cambodia, especially as arranged marriages are still deeply rooted in traditional customs. In the private sphere, women continue to bear the brunt of responsibilities at home. Women dedicate 3 hours per day to unpaid care and domestic tasks compared to 0.3 hours for men, which limits their time to engage in other activities. Women’s role is also limited in the public sphere. The law does not mandate political gender quotas to promote women’s political representation at the national or local levels, which translates into women’s under-representation in decision-making power positions. In 2023, women only account for 31% of employees in a managerial position, and 21% of the members of parliament. This under-representation of women in public roles is reflected in the fact that Cambodia does not have a dedicated law addressing all forms of violence against women and the legislation covers different forms of violence (such as domestic violence or sexual violence) in separate or general pieces of legislation – including the Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence and Protection of Victims (2005), the Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation (2008), or the Criminal Code (2009). A large part of the population normalises domestic violence and socially accepts it, with 46% of Cambodian women aged 15-49 who think that it is justified for a husband to hit or beat his wife under certain circumstances.


[2] Council of ASEAN Chief Justices (n.d.), Cambodia,

[5] Kingdom of Cambodia (2005), Law on Statistics, Royal Kram No. NS/RKM/0505/015.

[1] OECD (2023), “Social Institutions and Gender Index (Edition 2023)”, OECD International Development Statistics (database), (accessed on 10 January 2024).

[6] OECD Development Centre/OECD (2023), “Gender, Institutions and Development (Edition 2023)”, OECD International Development Statistics (database), (accessed on 11 January 2024).

[4] United Nations (2023), Status of Treaties: Chapter IV - 8. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women,

[3] United Nations (1979), Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women,


← 1. The full SIGI Country Profile for Cambodia is available at: OECD Development Centre (2023), “Cambodia SIGI Country Profile”, SIGI 2023 Country Profiles, OECD,

← 2. SIGI scores range from 0 to 100, with 0 indicating no discrimination and 100 indicating absolute discrimination. Levels of discrimination in the SIGI and its dimensions are assessed based on scores as follow: very low [0-20]; low [20-30]; medium [30-40]; high [40-50]; and very high [50-100].

Legal and rights

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Extracts from publications may be subject to additional disclaimers, which are set out in the complete version of the publication, available at the link provided.

© OECD 2024

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at