Asian women

Today, only 49% of working age women in developing Asia participate in the labour force compared with 80% of men. And the number is down from 56% in 1990. For South Asia, the lowest in the region, women’s workforce participation is 30% versus 80% for men. On average, a woman in developing Asia is paid only 77% that of her male counterpart. Less than 10% of positions on corporate boards are held by women and just over 10% of government ministers in the region are female.
We must change this. Gender equality matters in its own right but it also makes economic sense. Our Asian Development Outlook 2015 Update estimated that eliminating gender disparities in developing Asia would boost per capita income by 70% within two generations and help the region sustain its current pace of economic growth and development. This is particularly important with many Asian countries seeing their demographic dividend fade. Helping women earn more will also reduce poverty rates. Bringing more women into the workplace, whether on the factory floor, the executive office, or the ministerial suite will help Asia – and its 2 billion women – unleash their full potential. If the workforce reflects the population, everyone wins.
NIDA KIFAYAT
Islamabad

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