March 03, 2016
Over the last few decades, we have witnessed a rising awareness and recognition for greater empowerment among women economically, socially and politically. At the same time, the tracking of women’s progress towards gender parity has also garnered substantial attention and interest globally due to the growing belief that women’s capacity and potential to contribute fully towards the betterment of their economies remain severely constrained and unrealized. For instance, the impressive gains achieved by some women who have succeeded in becoming top corporate leaders, business owners and politicians are predominantly concentrated in developed markets where labor laws are more consistently implemented and fair practices more strictly adhered to. In the majority of the emerging markets, the prevalence of gender divide is comparatively more widespread and acute - a concern that continues to stand out in MasterCard’s study on women’s advancement in Asia Pacific.
Conducted for the 10th year, the 2016 MasterCard Index on Women’s Advancement (MIWA) is part of MasterCard’s ongoing dedication towards tracking and analyzing women’s progress across 18 markets in Asia Pacific. Comprising three main components - ‘Employment’, ‘Capability’ and ‘Leadership’ - the results underscore inconsistency in the pace at which women are progressing at each component level. This is particularly evident in the high scores for Capability (level of knowledge asset) and lower scores for Employment (workforce participation and opportunity for regular employment) and Leadership (business and political leadership). Specifically, women in developed markets have access to more regular employment opportunities in the formal sector while those in developing markets are exposed to more vulnerable employment in the informal sector.
The results also highlight that notwithstanding the tremendous effort and commitment extended by various interest groups such as The Asian Foundation and government programs in helping women become more empowered, at the national, political and corporate level, the lack of critical mass in women’s representation and participation - coupled with the inadequate and inconsistent implementation of equality legislation - continues to be the biggest challenge for women. This is reflected across all markets irrespective of the pace of economic development.
We also discuss the impact of the rising trend in Japan and South Korea for working fathers to take paternity leave and assume the roles of childrearing so that their wives may work. This is of particular interest given the survey results reveal that around 30 percent of women in these markets regard having ‘better maternal/paternal leave entitlement’ as the top issue in their advancement in society. In Singapore, we explore the challenges faced by working women in striking a balance between career advancement and meeting expectations demanded from them at the national, corporate and societal/family levels. In our discussion on the weakness of Leadership among women, we highlight the interesting finding that the majority of women in developed markets perceive having ‘more women SME business opportunities’ as one of the top three most important issues in women’s advancement in society.
Women on par with men in Capability in New Zealand, Philippines, China, Taiwan & Thailand;
Advancement in Leadership remains the biggest hurdle
For the 10th consecutive year, New Zealand, Australia and the Philippines continue to hold the reins in the region with top scores of 78.0, 76.0 and 71.4, respectively. Apart from Singapore (70), all other markets in Asia Pacific (and South Asia) had scores below the 70-point mark with Japan being the lowest and only market scoring below 50 points. Compared to the previous year, the latest results are broadly similar and stable with little fluctuations. Women in New Zealand made the most progress with a 0.7 points increase to 78.0, followed by Japan (up 0.5 points to 49.5). In contrast, Malaysia retracted by 0.4 points to 52.7 (the lowest in 5 years), followed by China (down 0.2 points to 66.3).
As an indicator of Female-to-Male Secondary and Tertiary School Gross Enrolment Rate (GER) ratio, the Capability sub-index serves as a proxy for women’s access to education and acquisition of knowledge assets relative to their male counterparts. Of the three index components, Capability remains the strongest indicator of women’s advancement towards gender parity for the 10th consecutive year with 5 markets scoring 100 points (New Zealand, Philippines, China, Taiwan and Thailand). With the exception of Korea (86.6), all other markets in the region scored above 90 points in Capability. Women in New Zealand, Thailand, Philippines and Taiwan have been on par with their male counterparts consistently since the series commenced in 2007. It is encouraging to note that women in Indonesia and Hong Kong continue to make positive steps towards greater knowledge asset attainment with their scores edging closer to parity ( 99.1 and 98.5, respectively).
In terms of tertiary GER, women continue to outnumber men in nine out of the 13 APAC markets with New Zealand retaining top spot with an impressive score of 141.8, followed by Australia at 137.5 and Thailand at 134.5. In Indonesia, we observe the number of enrolment in advanced education to have grown quite markedly from 87.2 in 2007 to 105.1 in 2016, an increase of 21 percent. It is also uplifting to note that the number of female GER in the five markets of China, New Zealand, Thailand, Philippines and Taiwan continue to outnumber that of their male counterparts in both secondary and tertiary education. However, it remains a concern that while the opportunity to attain advanced education is available, a large gap still exists in the ability for these women to translate their knowledge assets into economic benefits by way of contribution to the economy, career advancement, business ownership or political/business leadership. This is evident in the lower scores in the female to male ‘Workforce Participation’ ratio, such as 63.6 in Philippines, 83.5 in New Zealand, and 83.2 in China.
In the developing markets of China, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, it is observed that both females and male’s GERs in tertiary education are remarkably low compared to their regional peers as shown in the table below. This could be due to the fact that most males forego the pursuit of advance education and enter the workforce at an earlier age to help support the family (especially in the rural areas), while women are likely to remain in the household to take care of the family and young/elderly ones instead of pursuing tertiary education.
|Market||Female GER in Tertiary Education||Male GER in Tertiary Education|
Women in developing markets undermined by lack of formal work;
Labor shortage in Japan may reverse trend of low female workforce participation
Of the 13 Asia Pacific markets, women in New Zealand (91.4), Australia (91.0) and Taiwan (90.7) retain their top three positions as being the most economically active with highest access to regular formal employment. They are the closest to being at par with their respective male cohorts in terms of ‘Workforce Participation’2 and ‘Regular Employment’3 . The results also underscore that in general, women’s progress in employment remains broadly stagnant across the region.
A breakdown of the ‘Employment’ component as shown in the graph below reveals that out of the total female population, the proportion of women who are economically active in the formal or informal labor force (as measured by the ‘Workforce Participation’ sub-component) is consistently lower than that of men across the region. With the exception of Malaysia, women in developing markets such as Vietnam (74 percent), China (66 percent) and Thailand (64 percent) are more likely to be working (formal or informal) than women in the advanced economies of Japan and Korea (both 49 percent). This is not surprising given that the need for women to work to contribute to the household income will be greater in the less wealthy markets.
The low ‘Employment’ scores for Japan and Korea suggest that the cultural bias against women working is fairly strong in these societies. However, we anticipate this trend to gradually change in the coming years due to the following factors.
In Japan, there has been a rising concern over labor shortage across all sectors from technology to services caused by factors such as an aging workforce, education gaps, inflexible hiring laws and immigration curbs. This is already starting to stunt economic growth in the country. With GDP shrinking at an annualized pace of -0.8 percent in the July to September 2015 quarter compared to -0.7 percent the previous quarter, the labor shortage woes are compounding the existing challenges of tepid consumer spending and softening corporate investment. Notwithstanding the government’s attempt to mitigate the problem by allowing more skilled foreign workers into Japan, there remains a severe mismatch and lack of skills-set to meet corporate requirements (e.g. web technology skills). There is also a shortage of low-skilled service workers such as security guards, restaurant servers and care providers with many local firms forced to close down due to their inability to secure workers for operations4. As noted by IMF in its July report (2015), this has also muted the government’s implementation of fiscal and monetary stimulus measures with slow wages growth weighing heavily on household spending.
In order to address the labor shortage problem, the government has implemented various programs aimed at encouraging more women and seniors to enter or remain in the workforce. One such program is the “Ikumen Project” that allows men to take paternity leave (usually one month) and assume more active roles in childrearing so that their wives may work. However, this initiative will take time given that as of 2012, only 1.9 percent of Japanese men took paternity leave (Cabinet Office). By 2020, the government hopes to not only raise this figure to 12 percent, but increase the percentage of employees taking annual paid vacation from 47 percent to 70 percent, and women returning to work after giving birth from 38 percent to 55 percent5.
A similar trend is also taking place in Korea whereby more and more working fathers are applying for the one-year paternity leave they are entitled to in order to spend more time at home with their children as women increasingly resist their traditional roles as the primary caretaker in the family. Heralded as “brave” stay-home fathers, this move has surprised many in the male-dominated society where daily childcare has traditionally been considered as a woman’s responsibility6. With the government’s recent multi-billion campaign that includes subsidies7 to encourage more men to take paternity leave, this will hopefully allow more women to join the workforce in the future8.
The results also show the proportion of women in the developed economies of Hong Kong (95 percent), Australia (92 percent), Singapore and Japan (both 89 percent) that have greater access to Regular (formal) Employment opportunities than the females in developing markets such as Vietnam (31 percent), Indonesia (33 percent) and China (43 percent). For instance, in Hong Kong, 95 percent of women who are working are formally employed in regular work with employee benefits and labor force protection, leaving the remaining five percent engaged in informal vulnerable work such as casual labor, businesses and self-employment. Conversely, in Vietnam, only 31 percent of working females are engaged in the formal sector with regular work while the remaining majority (69 percent) are engaged in informal work with no labor force protection and employment benefits – a situation that exposes their vulnerability to being marginalized. This is likely due to the fact that most of the women in the developing markets are working in the rural sectors where work is typically irregular and informal, a condition that is acknowledged by global organizations such as UN Women9.
In Singapore, women are playing a more important role in advancing the economy through their participation in the workforce. Within the region, they are ranked sixth with a score 86.3 for the ‘Employment’ component. According to the 2014 Labor Force Statistics (Singapore), the employment rate for women was at its peak of 76 percent for the prime working ages of 25 to 54. Over the last decade, Singapore has outperformed its peers in Asia in closing the gender workplace and pay gap10. However, the majority of women in the island state continue to be held back due to corporate and/or social bias against working women. This is evident through the relatively low score of female workforce participation rate of 55.7 percent for those aged 15 and above against 74.8 percent for men. The results also show that up to 11 percent (one in 10) of working women are engaged in the informal sector (e.g. casual labor, self-employed).
Given the high cost and standard of living in Singapore (and hence the need for women to work and contribute towards household expenses), the relative ease in hiring domestic helpers to care for the young/elders, and the proactive stance adopted by the government through the Ministry of Manpower to protect working women’s employment rights and benefits, one might expect the female workforce participation rate to be higher. Instead, the figure has hardly increased over the last decade (54.4 percent in 2007 compared to 55.7 percent in 2016 for women aged 15 and above). In their book “The Three Paradoxes: Working Women in Singapore”, authors Lee, Campbell & Chia (1999) shed light on the multifaceted expectations of women’s roles in the country and how this predicament may be not only hindering women from fulfilling their career aspirations but also discouraging them from joining the workforce.
First, at the national/economic level, women are expected to bear more children to help raise the country’s declining birth rate and at the same time, be productive in the workplace. Over the years, it has been increasingly challenging for women to meet this expectation, and one of the reasons may be due to the long working hours. According to a recent Labour Market report by the Ministry of Manpower, the typical Singaporean employee clocked in the longest working hours in the world at 2,389.4 hours in 2014, surpassing both Taiwan and South Korea at 2,163 and 2,193 hours, respectively. Such competitive and highly demanding work requirements will make it immensely difficult for women to achieve work-life balance and pursue an ambitious working career - especially for those who are married, in their child-bearing years married, and/or have younger or elderly family members to care for. Some may choose to stop their working career much earlier than their male counterparts to take up their responsibilities as mothers or caregivers - a decision that will likely displace their ability to contribute economically as productive employees.
Secondly, at the corporate/organizational level, women in managerial positions are expected to demonstrate not only qualities of decisiveness and assertiveness (like their male counterparts) but to maintain their femininity as well. On top of this, women in Singapore continue to struggle with gender wage disparity, generally earning around 10 percent less than men for the same job across the majority of occupational levels except clerical and support. Another dilemma facing working Singaporean women is that one in 10 are unable to obtain regular formal work. Statistics also show women being marginalized at the corporate board level with only 8.3 percent of SGX-listed companies having female board members11. Such lack of access to formal work, gender wage disparity and bias in higher-level positions may have tarnished women’s inclination and ability to participate in the workforce.
Thirdly, at the social level, women are expected to adhere to their traditional roles as wives and mothers – responsibilities that are perceived to contribute towards social stability. However, the ability to meet such expectations become increasingly testing due to the rising cost of living in Singapore – a situation that makes it necessary for women/mothers to work in order to supplement the household income and expenses while juggling the roles of motherhood and caretaker simultaneously. The ease and affordability of hiring foreign domestic helpers irrespective of the class of the household (rich, middle class or lower income) plays a crucial role in supporting married women’s return to the workforce. Statistics from the Ministry of Manpower indicate that there were around 227,100 foreign domestic helpers in Singapore in 2015. Despite this, for some, the ability for women to remain in the workforce for most of their working lives may be compromised by various reasons such as overpowering biases at the economic, corporate and social levels, leading some to resume to assuming their traditional roles within the household (even with the help of domestic workers).
Leadership remains the laggard in women’s stride towards gender parity
As a measurement of the female-to-male ratio in business ownership, business leadership and political participation, the Leadership component reflects women’s progress in the business, economic and political sectors as compared to their male counterparts. Over the last decade since the series commenced, Leadership has remained the weakest component with the majority of the markets residing below the 50-point mark. In the latest survey, New Zealand, Australia and Philippines remained as the highest scoring markets: New Zealand (51.9, up 1.3 points), Australia (50.2, up 0.4 points) and the Philippines (47.2, up 0.1 points). Over the last six months, the scores for seven markets edged up marginally with New Zealand increasing the most. China (34.7) and Malaysia (19.8) declined by 0.1 and 0.6 points respectively, while the scores for Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Thailand remained unchanged. Of the 13 Asia Pacific markets, women in Malaysia (19.8), Korea (19.5) and Japan (15.2) continue to face tremendous hurdles in making progress in the business and political spheres.
New Zealand, Australia & Philippines continue to hold the rein in women’s advancement;
Scores for all components broadly similar
The latest MasterCard Index of Women’s Advancement 2016 (MIWA) brings to light the lack of momentum in women’s progress in terms of their employability, capability and leadership capacity. Of the 13 markets, women in New Zealand, Australia and Philippines remain in the top three positions in their stride towards gender parity with scores of 78.0, 76.0 and 71.4 points, respectively. With the exception of Singapore (70 points), all other markets in Asia Pacific scored below the 70-point mark with Japan being the lowest and only market scoring below the 50-point mark.
For the 10th consecutive year, women in Asia Pacific continue to shine in terms of ‘Capability’. As an indicator of female’s access to education and acquisition of knowledge assets, women in five markets are at par with their male counterparts with scores of 100 points (New Zealand, Philippines, China, Taiwan and Thailand). In terms of Employment, women in New Zealand, Australia and Taiwan topped the region as the most economically active with highest access to regular formal employment. They are the closest to being at par with their respective male cohorts in terms of ‘Workforce Participation’ and ‘Regular Employment’. Of the three components, Leadership remains the weakest with most economies scoring less than the 50-point mark, reflecting the tremendous hurdles women face in the business and political arenas.
The results for women’s advancement across the five markets in South Asia reflect little changes over the past 12 months with women continuing to lag behind men across all three components. With the exception of Sri Lanka whose overall score declined 0.7 points to 44.3, the scores for all markets inched up only slightly. The top gainers were Nepal (62.5) and Bangladesh (45.5), up 0.5 and 0.4 points respectively, bringing the scores to their peak since the series commenced in 2007. In Nepal, we note that for the first time, women have surpassed their male counterparts in the ‘Capability’ component with the female-to-male ratio for both Secondary (106.7) and Tertiary education (101.2) above the 100-point mark.
Women in Pakistan and India remain as the laggards
The results for the ‘Employment’ component suggest that women in South Asia are still confronted with challenges in the workforce, especially with regards to access to ‘Regular Employment’. With the exception of Sri Lanka, the majority of women in South Asia continue to be severely marginalized in their ability to find regular, secure and paid labor. This concern is especially grave in Bangladesh whereby only nine percent of working women are engaged in the formal sector with employee benefits, protection and regular salary, while the remaining majority (91 percent) are engaged in casual labor where there is little or no certainty of income and regular work.
In India and Pakistan, we observe that the proportion of women who are either of age to work or are able/expected to work (whether formally or informally) is very low at around 20 percent to 30 percent compared to 70 percent to 80 percent for men. This could be due to the lack of employment opportunities for women in favor of men, or due to overpowering cultural/family expectations that a woman’s role is to reside at home primarily as a wife, daughter, mother or fulltime caretaker of the young and elderly. This is less acute in Nepal and Bangladesh where the proportion of women engaged in the workforce is comparatively much higher at around 80 percent and 50 percent, respectively.
It should be noted that in terms of workforce participation, women in Bangladesh are assuming an increasingly vital role in their contribution to the economy with more than half of the females aged 15 and above actively working (58.4 percent). In particular, women’s employment in the ready-made garment (RMG) sector is rising rapidly whereby nearly 80 to 85 percent are female workers13.
We observe that while there appears to be no shortfall of opportunities for women in Nepal to gain knowledge assets (capability score of 100) and pursue leadership roles (leadership score of 41.0, one of highest in both Asia Pacific and South Asia), when it comes to job security and the ability to obtain regular work in the formal sector, the discrepancy is still startlingly immense. Although females’ participation in the workforce is considered very high at 80.8 percent, the score for ‘Regular Employment Opportunities’ suggests otherwise. In fact, only a handful (12.6 percent) of working women are engaged formally with regular pay and employee benefits, leaving the remaining 87.4 percent in a highly vulnerable position of being denied the opportunity to formal, regular employment.
A study conducted by the Institute of Human Rights Communication Nepal (Feb 2014) highlighted some of the insecurities, challenges and implications for working women in Nepal14. Such revelations are summarized in the chart below, and provide some insight on why the economic potential of women - even those who are working - are not fully realized.
Women in Nepal on par with men for the first time in ‘Capability’;
Women comprise majority of graduates but minority of labor force
Similar to the Asia Pacific region, the sub-index of ‘Capability’ continues to be the strongest indicator of women’s progress in South Asia. Notably, Sri Lanka and Nepal both achieved gender parity scores of 100 (the first for Nepal). It is encouraging to note that over the past 10 years, women in India have made very promising progress in educational attainment. This is reflected in the stable increase in the overall ‘Capability’ score from 77.3 in 2007 to 93.7 in 2016 - an overall increase of 15 percent. Specifically, the female-to-male ratio in tertiary education enrollment increased steadfastly by one third (33 percent) from 69.5 percent in 2007 to 92.2 percent in 2016.
In Nepal, the rate of increase in female-to-male ratio for advanced education enrollment is even faster, rising from only 56.2 percent in 2007 to an impressive 101.2 percent in 2016. This means that, of all the females who are eligible to enroll in tertiary education, only 7.2 percent are actually enrolled in 2007 compared to 24.5 percent in 2016. The actual rate of increase/progress in female’s enrolment rate has surpassed that of men: 12.9 percent male tertiary enrollment rate compared to 24.2 percent male tertiary enrollment rate in 2016.
Compared to its South Asian regional peers, Sri Lanka has the highest proportion of female-to-male tertiary education enrollment ratio of 164.0 (compared to 186.0 in 2007), suggesting that women continue to surpass men in advanced knowledge asset attainment. However, as observed in the majority of the markets, in spite of these educational gains, women continue to trail men in employment, earning power, business ownership, research and politics15.
The latest results underscore South Asian women’s ongoing strife in seeking the opportunity to lead, make political decisions and own a business. Nepal continues to be the only exception with the highest proportion of female business owners (42 percent) and third highest number of political leaders (29.5 percent) in both Asia Pacific and South Asia. At 25.9 percent, the proportion of women business owners in Bangladesh is fairly healthy compared to the developed markets of Hong Kong (19.8 percent), Japan (17.6 percent) and Korea (23.2 percent).
In terms of business ownership, Nepal (42.0 percent) surpasses the developed markets of Australia at 33.6 percent and New Zealand at 31.5 percent where the underlying supporting conditions of female entrepreneurship are comparatively more conducive than the former. This suggests that women in Nepal demonstrate a tendency to be more driven and inclined to start their own businesses. While these businesses are likely to be SMEs in the textile, garment and handicraft, services or retail sectors where high-tech capital investment is not required, it reflects women’s determination to supplement their household income and living expenses and to be financially more independent. Such commendable milestone is largely accredited to the various associations such as ‘The Asia Foundation’ and ‘Women for Liberty: Nepal’ that have set up workshops and training programs dedicated towards helping women attain entrepreneurial skills and broaden their understanding of financial knowledge so as to empower them economically.
However, it is disheartening to note that there are numerous other hurdles to overcome, such as getting approvals for business startups from official regulators, access to adequate finances, exposure to innovative technologies to make work easier, lack of business networking and marketing opportunities, and lack of social support systems (refer to diagram below). Most of the time, these challenges are related and intertwined together. They are also not confined exclusively to Nepal: In other markets in the region where women are marginalized, such barriers are common and widespread in refraining women from fully empowering themselves socially, politically and economically.
Compared to the previous year, women’s progress towards gender parity in South Asia remains broadly unchanged, and continues to trail that of their peers in Asia Pacific. With the exception of Nepal, women are generally economically and politically inactive. Of the five markets, women in Pakistan continue to be the most severely marginalized. In terms of ‘Employment’, with the exception of Sri Lanka, most women in the region are unable to secure regular and paid work, a condition that is most acute in Bangladesh. In terms of ‘Capability’, we observe that while women comprise the majority of university graduates, they continue to represent the minority of the labor force. In Sri Lanka and Nepal, women’s attainment of advanced knowledge assets is not only at par with their male counterparts, they are demonstrating some success in translating such capability into economic empowerment through their participation in the workforce.
Finally, the results for ‘Leadership’ underscore women’s ongoing challenge to be entrepreneurial, lead in the corporate world and make political contributions. Nepal continues to shine with the highest proportion of female business owners (42 percent) and third highest number of political leaders (29.5 percent) in both South Asia and Asia Pacific.
The results from the 2016 MasterCard Index of Women’s Advancement (MIWA) reflects a slight slowdown in women’s progress towards gender parity. For the 10th consecutive year, New Zealand, Australia and the Philippines claimed the leading reins in the region with top scores of 78.0, 76.0 and 71.4 points, respectively. Apart from Singapore (70 points), all other markets scored below the 70-point mark with Japan in Asia Pacific and Pakistan in South Asia being the lowest scoring markets (scores of 49.5 and 23.4, respectively).
Of the three indicators, women continue to shine in their progress towards educational attainment. Out of the total 18 markets across Asia Pacific and South Asia, women in seven markets achieved parity or surpassed their respective male counterparts in ‘Capability’ (New Zealand, Philippines, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Sri Lanka & Nepal). With the exception of Korea (86.6), Bangladesh (89.3) and Pakistan (86.2), all other markets had ‘Capability’ scores above the 90-point mark. It is uplifting to note that women in four markets (New Zealand, Thailand, Philippines and Taiwan) are on par with their male cohort consistently since the series commenced in 2007.
We highlighted with disappointment that women in the developing markets of India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Indonesia continue to face tremendous challenges in translating their knowledge assets into economic and financial empowerment due to their inability to secure regular employment in the formal sectors. In contrast, women in developed economies such as Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong have greater opportunities for regular work due to the more comprehensive and consistent enforcement of workplace policies and employee protection legislative laws in their local environments.
Our overview of the labor shortage crisis in Japan and Korea brings to light the possibility of a gradual reversal in the trend of low female workforce participation as working fathers increasingly take up or share the role of childbearing so their wives may join/return to the work force. We also shed light on the various factors that may have led to the comparatively low rate of female workforce participation in Singapore.
We noted dishearteningly the persistent weakness in women’s capacity to advance in the corporate and political spheres. This is reflected in the ‘Leadership’ component scores for both Asia Pacific and South Asia whereby all markets - except New Zealand and Australia - scored below the 50-point mark.
 The Asia Pacific region includes the 13 markets of Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam. For the purpose of reporting, the South Asian region comprising Bangladesh, India Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka is discussed and presented in a separate section in the later part of the report.
 ‘Regular Employment’ measures the gender proportion of regular employees to the total number of workers who could also be self-employed, casual labor or business owners. A low score suggests that regular formal job opportunities are les available for women than they are for men. Casual labor is described by the International Labor Organisation (ILO) as vulnerable employment due to the lack of labor law protection, paid leave and employee benefits.
 “Japanese men bringing up babies aim to send wives to work”, Bloomberg online, 23 Apr 2014, [Available Online: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-04-22/japanese-men-bringing-up-babies-seek-to-send-wives-back-to-work]
 South Korea’s fertility rate in 2014 is only 1.21, well below the required replacement level of 2.1 births per female and lowest among OECD member nations and far below the OECD average of 1.67, Demographics of South Korea, Wikipedia, Oct 2015
 International Labour Organization (2014) “A quiet revolution: Women in Bangladesh”, 29 Jan 2014, [Available Online] www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/comment-analysis/WCMS_234670/lang--en/index.htm
 Coyle, D., Shrestha, R. & Thapa, C.J. (2014), “Women’s insecurities and the workplace in Nepal - A study from Banke and Bara districts”, Institute of Human Rights Communication Nepal, International Alert, National Business Initiative.
Tagswomen's empowerment, women's advancement, Asia Pacific, Women
2. ASIA PACIFIC1
2.2.1. Anticipated Reverse in Trend of Low Female Workforce Participation
2.2.2. Regular Employment
2.2.3. Case Study: Working Women in Singapore
3. SUMMARY OF RESULTS: ASIA PACIFIC
4. SOUTH ASIA12
4.1.1. Case Study: Unrealized Potential of Women’s Economic Contribution in Nepal
4.4. Summary of Results: South Asia