Japanese Journal of Southeast Asian Studies
Online ISSN : 2424-1377
Print ISSN : 0563-8682
ISSN-L : 0563-8682
New Japanese Scholarship in Cambodian Studies
Marriage, Gender, and Labor:
Female-Headed Households in a Rural Cambodian Village
Miwa Takahashi
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2005 Volume 42 Issue 4 Pages 442-463


The “feminization of poverty” is apparent in regard to female-headed households, and Cambodia is not an exception. Due to the civil war and the aftermath of the Pol Pot regime, the population of women has exceeded that of men, and the ratio of female-headed households still remains relatively high. This paper is a case study of one rice-farming village in Takaev Province in the southern plain region of Cambodia. It will describe the present state of female-headed households and discuss how these women try to survive by selecting and utilizing various social and human resources within the milieu of their kinship and marriage system. Despite the fact that the household unit as means of livelihood was dismantled during the Pol Pot regime, family ties were not destroyed and households were reconstructed soon after the regime collapsed. Although the regime created many households with a deficiency of members, the kinship structure basically remains the same as before the 1970s. The nature of men's migratory marriage sometimes brings about the easy desertion of wives, but the predominance of a matrilocal residential pattern provides female networks in the wives' home villages. Nevertheless, the matrilocal preference does not always solve the problem of the “feminization of poverty.”

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© 2005 Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University
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