March 07, 2011
Taiwan, 7 March 2011: Just how much do women across Asia/Pacific know about managing finances? MasterCard Worldwide’s inaugural Index of Financial Literacy released today highlights that women across Asia/Pacific are financially savvy to some extent, in particular among the over-30, married, working group, but that the level of financial literacy in women can be raised further, especially among the younger generation.
Taiwanese women ranked sixth in the MasterCard Worldwide’s Index of Financial Literacy among 14 markets surveyed in Asia/Pacific. Women in Taiwan had an index score of 68.7which is higher than that of Hong Kong’s 68.0 and China’s 60.1. At the same time, Taiwan also outshined counterparts in developed markets like Korea (55.9) and Japan (59.9) which makes up the lower spectrum of the Index.
The MasterCard Index of Financial Literacy is based on a survey of consumers from 24 markets across Asia/Pacific Middle East Africa (APMEA). It comprises three major components: Basic Money Management, which examines the respondents’ skills in terms of budgeting, savings and responsibility of credit usage; Financial Planning, which assesses their knowledge of financial products, services, concepts and ability to make long-term plans for financial needs; and Investment, which indicates their basic understanding of the various investment risks, different investment products and if they have the necessary skills.
The Index score is calculated from the weighted sum of the three components, with 100 as the maximum score in financial literacy and zero as the lowest possible score. The survey was conducted between 13 September and 11 November 2010 and will continue to be conducted on an annual basis.
Of the three components that make up the survey, women across Asia/Pacific as a whole scored the best in Financial Planning 74.6), followed by Basic Money Management (63.9) and Investment (56.7).
Taiwanese women were ahead of their peers in Hong Kong and China given that the survey results reflected that the respondents held a higher level of knowledge relating to financial services, products and investments in a recovering global economy. Taiwan ranked third in both Financial Planning (82.4) and Investments (61.3) across Asia/Pacific, trailing Thailand and Vietnam. Women in Hong Kong had however scored better in Basic Money Management as compared to women in Taiwan and China.
“The survey results have provided insights to the level of financial literacy in Taiwanese women and also pointed to the fact that financial knowledge in women is not to be overlooked especially when the economy is improving. At MasterCard we believe in the empowerment of women and part of our efforts on that front is encouraging women to manage their finances in a smart way,” said Julie Yang, Head of Taiwan, MasterCard Worldwide.
 Markets surveyed include Australia, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.
Separately, Singapore National Committee for UN Women (UN Women Singapore) and MasterCard have joint hands to launch Project Inspire: 5 Minutes to Change the World as the world commemorates 100 years of International Women’s Day. This year-long digital and social media driven initiative aims to connect and inspire young people across the world to share their life-changing ideas and fulfill their visions of a better world for disadvantaged women and children.
The initiative supports the heightened need to devote resources to the empowerment of women. Despite great strides in their socio-economic standing over the past 100 years, statistics show that women account for 70% of the world’s poor. They work two-thirds of the world’s working hours but earn only 10% of the income and own 1% of the world’s property. Giving these disadvantaged women more opportunities to stand on their own feet has enormous socio-economic ramifications, as empowering women fuels economies, spurring productivity and growth.
Project Inspire presents 18-35 year olds with a 5-minute platform to pitch their inspired idea to the world and win a US$25,000 grant. The grant will be used to bring to life the winning idea and empower disadvantaged women or children in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa through education, skills training, financial inclusion or social entrepreneurship. In addition, special recognition will be given to the best Financial Literacy/Livelihood proposal, which will be awarded a US$10,000 start-up grant.
People with a passion to make a difference will be encouraged to visit
www.5minutestochangetheworld.org to submit a 5-minute video or written pitch articulating their idea and how they will use the grant to implement it. A shortlist of 10 finalists will have to convince a global voting audience of the merits of their proposal, and present live in Singapore to an expert judging panel at the end of August 2011, when the winner will be announced.
Finalists will also get the opportunity to attend a workshop on sustainable social entrepreneurship and hone their presentation skills through a training session with professional consultants.
|Overall Financial Literacy Index||Components of Financial Literacy Index|
|Basic Money Management||Financial Planning||Investment|
The MasterCard Worldwide Index suite in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa includes the long-running MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence, as well as the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement, Online Shopping, Index of Financial Literacy, and the Index of Global Destination Cities. In addition to the Indices, MasterCard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including Ethical Spending and a series on Consumer Purchasing Priorities (covering Travel, Dining & Entertainment, Education, Money Management, Luxury and General Shopping).
MasterCard also regularly releases Insights reports providing analysis of business dynamics, financial policies and regulatory activities in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. Over 80 Insights reports have been produced since 2004.
MasterCard has also released a series of four books on Asian consumer insights, authored by Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Global Economic Advisor for MasterCard Worldwide and published by John Wiley & Sons.
MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Conversations Blog and subscribe for the latest news.