Timor-Leste has one of the highest population growth rates in the world. The average woman has six children in her lifetime. Women and girls receive less education than men and boys, and about half of women in Timor-Leste are illiterate.

Women in Timor-Leste hold almost none of the local leadership positions. A recent survey showed that only 2% of village heads were women. Patriarchal culture means that women are responsible for almost all of the housework and childcare. This large time burden can be a barrier to women who want to take on roles outside the house.

The booming population in Timor-Leste contributes to high unemployment. Women are less likely to be employed than men. Eight out of ten women in Timor-Leste are not paid for their work, even before factoring in household work.

Violence against women is a major human rights problem in Timor-Leste. The decades-long struggle for independence from Indonesia killed over 100,000 people and contributed to a culture of violence.

Almost 40% of women in Timor-Leste have experienced violence, mostly from a partner. Women in Timor-Leste have a constitutional right to safety from violence. Yet, the legal systems in the country are still new and often fail to protect women. Most women live in rural areas and lack the opportunity and knowledge to take advantage of their legal rights in court.

IWDA works with local partners to promote power and money for women from Timor-Leste.

A few achievements of IWDA and our partners last year


women who were facing violence received legal support


people came to rural events about women’s rights


women participated in micro-business and savings groups

A woman leads a workshop discussion.
Leading a workshop in Timor-Leste. Photo: Georgia Ride

Timor-Leste facts

1.2 million

population of Timor-Leste


independence from Indonesia


people living in poverty

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