The number of COVID-19 cases in Cambodia is quite low (141) however the impact on global supply chains and the livelihood of thousands of factory and migrant workers, who are mostly women, is immense. The loss of income could potentially push families back into poverty and the value of unpaid care work which will increase during the pandemic, is not measured in financial terms, nor seen as a valuable contribution. Additionally, the growth of women’s empowerment which is strongly linked to financial contributions to the household, will decline.
Women and girls in Cambodia face inequalities in many areas such as in employment and payment, division of domestic labour, decision making and participation. Those are likely to further increase in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. An area of specific concern is in the education of girls and boys, from poor families, who do not have the technical infrastructure and capacity to support online home schooling.
The current health system does not have the capacity to deal with an increasing number of COVID-19 cases. Sub- national health facilities are considered low quality and previous health crisis showed that patients will directly consult provincial and national facilities which is going to exceed their capacity.
There is still uncertainty about transmission of COVID-19 which causes fear and creates potential for rumours causing stigmatisation and discrimination of certain population groups such as foreigners, women working with foreigners as in bar work and Muslim groups.
Gender based violence is common and widely accepted in Cambodia. Globally, intimate partner violence (IPV) may be the most common type of violence women and girls experience during emergencies. In the context of COVID-19 quarantine and isolation measures, IPV has the potential to dramatically increase for women and girls. Life-saving care and support to GBV survivors may be disrupted when front-line service providers and systems such as health, policing and social welfare are overburdened and preoccupied with handling COVID- 19 cases. Restrictions on mobility also mean that women are particularly exposed to intimate-partner violence at home with limited options for accessing support services.