The news this January that two Chinese companies had signed an agreement to build the world’s tallest twin towers in Phnom Penh understandably raised eyebrows in Cambodia and around the region. As with so many grandiose plans, financing will be key for this reported $2.7 billion project in what remains one of Asia’s poorest nations, as measured by per capita gross domestic product.
But even if funding is finalised and construction begins, a critical question remains: How best to balance Asia’s drive to build higher with the need to respect what remains below? Former first lady Michelle Obama famously said at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, “When they go low, we go high.”
Women make an important contribution to Cambodia’s economic growth. We only need to look around to see women playing a major role in key sectors like agriculture, tourism, commerce and garment manufacturing. Statistics tell the same story: Cambodian women have one of the highest rates of participation in the labour force in the region. But does growth work for women?
Experience from around the world shows that economic growth does not equally benefit women and men. In fact left to themselves markets replicate existing inequalities.
Disclaimer: All views expressed here belong to their respective author and do not represent the views of Enrich Institute