Situation of women, particularly the recourse and protection available to victims of spousal/domestic abuse, including the facilities available that offer protection, counselling, etc (1994-September 1999) [MNG32673.E]

Information on the recourse and protection available to female victims of spousal/domestic abuse, including the facilities available that offer protection and counselling, is scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
Due to the limited information on this subject, it is useful to quote from section 5 ("Discrimination based on Sex: Women") of

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1998:

Violence against women is a serious problem. Although there are no reliable or exact statistics regarding the extent of such abuse, human rights groups, women's groups, resident diplomats, and other observers believe that it is a common phenomenon. There is increasing public and media discussion of domestic violence, including spousal and child abuse, after many years of government and societal denial. ... Although women's groups advocate new statutes to cope with domestic violence, there is no known police or government intervention in cases involving violence against women beyond prosecution under existing assault laws after formal charges have been filed. NGO's conducted training for police on how to deal with domestic violence cases. Rape is illegal, and offenders can be prosecuted and convicted, but there is no law specifically prohibiting spousal rape.

There is no government agency that oversees women's rights. However, women and women's organizations are increasingly vocal in local and national politics and actively seek greater representation in government policymaking.

There are approximately 36 women's rights groups that concern themselves with such issues as maternal and children's health, domestic violence, and equal opportunity. The law prohibits women from working in certain occupations that require heavy labor or exposure to chemicals that could affect infant and maternal health. The Government enforces these provisions (26 Feb. 1999).

In July 1998 Hot News from UN Mongolia reported that

women victims of domestic violence in Mongolia now have access to emergency shelter and protection. UNDP and the Women's Federation of Mongolia have opened a new facility to aid battered wives, particu larly in the impoverished eastern end of the capital Ulanbaataar. The shelter, built with a US$300,000 contribution from UNDP, also offers basic health services and skills training to help women generate income for themselves. Worsening poverty has contributed to a rise in family crises.

Additional information on the situation of women, including female victims of spousal/domestic violence, can be found in various issues of

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

The following World Bank document entitled Mongolia: Country Gender Profile might be of general information.

Gender Context

After 1990, however, emerging evidence suggests that the austerity program and structural reforms launched under the transition to a market economy has led to the gradual deterioration of social services and the retrenchment and unemployment, many of whose costs have been disproportionately borne by women, most notably in rural areas. The impact of the increasing poverty enveloping Mongolia is most apparent in the lives of female-headed households, orphaned children, the disabled, and the elderly, who are the most vulnerable to economic hardship (EA2CO 1995).

State efforts to improve the lives of women included:

Under the Socialist regime, provision of generous support for child care, maternity leave, free universal maternity care; elimination of gender discrimination in legal status, education, and employment; the establishment f the Mongolian Women's Organization (MWO) to promote women's social and economic activities. During the transition,

attempt to mitigate the social costs of adjustment during the transition period by providing basic social services to the poor, including primary health care, family planning services, nutrition, and primary education;

educational reforms to reduce expenditures while improving and increasing the delivery of education services to redress problems, such as high drop-out rates;

launching of income generation programs targeting women in particular, by the Mongolian Women's Federation (MWF) jointly with UNIFEM in Ulanbaatar and Darhan. MWF is also implementing an UNFPA project with the ILO to enable women to work at home and increase their incomes; and

introduction of non-formal education programs for women in the Gobi area with UNESCO involvement and support.

Social Indicators

Female life expectancy at birth was 65 in 1993, two years over that for men, but 5 years lower than the average for women in low and middle income economies in East Asia and the Pacific (UNDP 1996).

A relatively high Total Fertility Rate of 3.4 in 1994 (the average for middle and lower-middle income economies for that year was 3.1), reflecting the past pronatal policies including the free health care and daycare, and financial benefits of having more children. While the annual population growth rate in 1994 has dropped from 2.8 in 1970 to 1.9 percent in 1994, it is considered still high, with the high urban population growth rate at 2.9 percent (World Bank 1996a). ... there are some indications that the population's attitude towards family planning has been changing, under UNFPA's Family Planning program (EA2CO 1995).

High rate of abortion (28 percent of known pregnancies in 1994) posing risks to women's health, especially when combined with inadequate nutrition. ...

The level of education in Mongolia is high: adult literacy rate is impressive 96 percent in 1993 (---data for women unavailable)

[However,] since the transition to a market economy, there has been a marked erosion in both quantity and quality in education. ... Gender differences in school participation is negligible in urban areas, while in rural areas female school enrollments surpass those for male for all expenditure quintiles, mostly attributable to the increasing demand for male child labor following the privatization of livestock (EA2RS 1996).

Women in the Economy

Women comprise a large segment of the labor force, with an economic activity rate in 1990 of 74.8 percent, in comparison to 89 for men. The female share of the labor force in 1993 was 46 percent, only one percent higher than in 1970, while overall labor force growth was 3.4 percent per year, according to 1994 data. Women's employment across sectors was divided more or less evenly between agriculture (36 percent) and services (43 percent), with a 21 percent concentration in the industrial sector.

With privatization, retrenchment and unemployment have been disproportionately borne by women. ... In April 1994, women formed just under half of the registered unemployed (46 percent) in 1995, but they are the first to be laid off and opportunities outside the state sector are fewer for women than for men.

Persistent/Emerging Problems

Female-headed households as a vulnerable group at risk of poverty. According to the Poverty Assessment (FY96) which analyzed the LSMS data, 18 percent of all household in Mongolia are headed by females. Nearly 60 percent of individuals living in female-headed households are poor, as compared to 31 percent in male-headed households. The potential reasons for the increased risk of poverty among female-headed households include: lower educational attainments of female heads compared to male heads which contribute to lower earning capacity; ownership of fewer herding animals per capita, making them dependent on the limited social assistance and private transfers; and fewer employed household members but an equal number of children relative to male headed households (EA2RS 1996). There is a need to develop alternative income generation activities and access to credit for them, particularly for herding families.

Rising maternal mortality and morbidity rates. They are attributed to the closure of maternity homes and cut backs in emergency transport vehicles and hospital supplies especially in poor provinces, due to a 43 percent reduction in real expenditure on health services and the following introduction of use fees. Coverage of sanitation, safe water and immunization also fell sharply in poor provinces. The risk of maternal mortality is also exacerbated by the high rate of abortion by women, because of their inability to access to appropriate family planning methods.

Declining access to basic education in the poor rural areas. Introduction of user fees in boarding schools and the greater demand for child (especially male) labor in herding families are likely to increase inequality in access to education between the better off and the poor.

High rate of alcoholism (altogether about 20,000 people) particularly among young men (80 percent) and the related incidence of crime and violence against women. This situation is aggravated by the fact that one fifth (20 percent) of the alcoholic population is women.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1998. 26 February 1999. United States Department of State. [Accessed 9 Sept. 1999]

Hot News from UN Mongolia. July 1998. "Shelter Opens in Mongolia to Protect Battered Women." [Accessed 9 Sept. 1999]

World Bank. N.d. Mongolia: Country Gender Profile gender/info/mongol.htm [Accessed 9 Sept. 1999]

Additional Sources Consulted

Commission on the Status of Women, Economic and Social Council. 2-13 March 1998.

Commission on the Status of Women: Report on the Forty-Second Session.

UNICEF Annual Report 1998.
United Nations System in Mongolia.

Annual Report 1998.

Electronic sources: Internet, IRB Databases, NEXIS.