1 in 3 women in Timor-Leste are in paid work.

Timor-Leste joins the WPS Index this year at position 80, reflecting uneven performance. As in Libya, women in Timor-Leste were active in the struggle for independence and peace building, and the new constitution guarantees gender equality. A legal quota requires that women make up at least a third of parliamentary candidates, and the share of women in parliament—at 34 percent —is the highest in the region. However, women’s political leadership at the local level is limited; almost all (98 percent) village and hamlet chiefs are men. Only 1 in 3 women are in paid work—among the lowest rates globally —compared with 9 in 10 married men. As in Papua New Guinea, women in Timor-Leste have limited education—less than four years. Indeed, in 2016, 22 percent of women ages 15–49 had no schooling at all.

The record of security for women in Timor-Leste is mixed. Over 77 percent of women feel safe walking alone at night, among the highest rates in the world. Yet the country has the second worst prevalence of current intimate partner violence, at 46 percent, behind only South Sudan. Recognizing this challenge, the government passed a law in 2010 criminalizing domestic violence and rolled out a national action plan for prevention and for services to survivors.