The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty
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The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty

Concepts, Research, Policy

Edited by Sylvia Chant

In the interests of contextualising (and nuancing) the multiple interrelations between gender and poverty, Sylvia Chant has gathered writings on diverse aspects of the subject from a range of disciplinary and professional perspectives, achieving extensive thematic as well as geographical coverage. This benchmark volume presents women’s and men’s experiences of gendered poverty with respect to a vast spectrum of intersecting issues including local to global economic transformations, family, age, ‘race’, migration, assets, paid and unpaid work, health, sexuality, human rights, and conflict and violence.
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Chapter 70: Gender, Poverty and Work in Cambodia

Katherine Brickell


Katherine Brickell This chapter focuses on the multidimensional relationships which exist between gender and poverty in contemporary Cambodian society. Within this remit, the chapter examines poverty trends and levels in the country, their gendered dimensions, and some of the everyday challenges that women face in different poverty-affected households, especially in relation to work. Drawing on research from low-income communities in Siem Reap (home to the global tourist site of Angkor)1 it argues that unless the gendered politics of alleviating poverty both within and beyond the household are addressed, then women will continue to bear a disproportionate share of its burdens. Poverty levels and trends: a brief overview While in 1990, the first year of the United Nations Human Development Report, Cambodia’s Human Development Index (HDI) placed it in the ‘low human development’ category, the country has now moved up to the ‘medium human development’ grouping. Poverty in Cambodia, however, remains a critical issue with the latest 2004 household survey finding that 35 per cent of Cambodians live below the national poverty line (World Bank, 2006). Further selected indicators are illustrated in Table 70.1. Cambodia’s poverty profile reflects the legacy of a political and economic evolution which according to the Asian Development Bank (2001: 2) ‘sets it apart from most of its neighbouring countries’. Subjected to aerial bombardments during the US–Vietnam war, the country and its people then endured three decades of conflict, upheaval and displacement. The political and social policies of the Khmer Rouge regime (1975–79) left...

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