http://www1.mastercard.com/content/intelligence/en/topnav/topics/women2019-12-02T13:35:08.155ZWomenAdobe Experience ManagerWomen Power and Economic Growth in Asia by Simon Ogus with introduction by Yuwa Hedrick-Wong Introduction by Yuwa Hedrick-Wong<p>This report examines women’s contribution to economic growth in the context of Asia through a detailed analysis of women’s labor force participation in the key economies of East, Southeast and South Asia. While there is a general consensus on the importance of women’s contributions to economic growth, the questions of how such contributions are made, how efficiently they are made, and how much they amount to are not easy to answer as they tend to be context dependent. Working with country-specific data and focusing on women’s labor force participation in this report, Simon Ogus is able to shed new light on this important subject, while generating business relevant insights that are important for a better understanding of today’s growth prospects in Asia.</p> <p>There is a well observed pattern of how the level of women’s labor force participation tends to change in relation to economic development. In stylized fashion, women’s labor force participation is extremely high in an agricultural economy at very low income levels. Paradoxically, it drops as surplus labor is moved from agriculture to manufacturing and industries while the economy climbs steadily to middle income level. Finally, women’s labor force participation rises again when the economy becomes “developed”at higher GDP per capita with much better quality of life, and where agricultural employment accounts for only a small percentage of the total, and services become the biggest source of employment.</p> <p>In a subsistence economy based on agriculture, the vast majority of adults are capable of working. This is necessary in order to stay alive, and care for the very young and the very old in the household. Children typically start work as soon as they are physically capable. Women particularly work very hard as they have the twin duties of raising children and taking care of daily household chores while working alongside men in the fields. In many traditional rural communities, women are responsible for collecting firewood and water, chores that could consume a few hours each day. Even in an urban setting, women’s options for paid work are typically limited in a low income economy. Very often they become home-based workers remunerated on the basis of piece-rate, while taking care of the household chores. From this perspective, women’s labor force participation is extremely high, even though it may not be always recognized as “formal employment” since much of women’s work is unpaid.</p> <p>As income rises and new employment opportunities open up in industries and services that come with development and urbanization, women’s labor force participation drops due to what is sometimes known as the “substitution effect.” With higher household income, women now have a choice: stay home to care for the children and the household, or to go out and seek paid employment in addition to taking on all the child care and household work. To the extent that there is a choice, it is not surprising that most women would not “substitute”child care and household work for paid employment plus child care and household work. In any event, the kind of paid employment available for unskilled and semi-skilled women usually does not pay well, so there is not much of an incentive to entice women to enter the labor force.</p> <p>As the economy develops and per capita GDP rises, women’s employment prospects change, especially when women become better educated, marry later, and have fewer children. Qualified women now can earn higher income in a wide array of opportunities in the urban service sector, pursuing meaningful careers that commensurate with their education levels and aspirations. Household chores become less of a burden with more and better consumer durables and labor saving devices, while affordable social services mean child care can be increasingly “outsourced.” So at some point the benefits of entering the labor market outweigh the benefits of staying home, especially for the better educated women. Thus, women’s labor force participation rises as a result of the “income effect”overwhelming the “substitution effect.”</p> <p>This stylized presentation of the pattern of changing women’s labor force participation is, of course, a simplified model of the reality. The facts on the ground are rarely this neat and tidy. When we examine actual situations closely, it quickly becomes clear that many local conditions impact the model. For instance, women’s education varies greatly between countries at similar levels of income and development due to country-specific socio-cultural factors, traditional beliefs, and government policies. This in turn affects women’s labor force participation since the costs and benefits of keeping women out of formal employment change when women are better educated. For example, under communism, China actually achieved a relatively high level of education for women in spite of the fact that it was a low income and predominately agricultural economy. This arguably gave China a head start in the early 1980s with economic opening and reform.</p> <p>Then there is the issue of the wage gap between men and women. The wage gap can exist at all levels of economic development and income, and is affected by traditional practices as well as institutional and policy factors. The wider the wage gap, the greater is the disincentive for women to participate in the labor force. But the issues surrounding the wage gap and how it can be closed are complex. Very often similar economic development schemes could lead to dramatically different outcomes. For example, a successful introduction of export-oriented labor intensive manufacturing could narrow the wage gap under certain conditions, but widen it under different conditions. It all has to do with whether employers favor female workers over male workers as a consequence of technology, scale, valueadd, the amount of on-the-job training required, and the size and ownership of the firm, etc. There is a lively debate in the research literature on this subject and there are no simple and straight forward answers. Careful country-specific analysis is needed.</p> <p>Complexity notwithstanding, there is an urgency to better understand how women’s labor force participation can be raised. There are a number of Asian markets that are aging surprisingly fast. Japan is best known for its aging and indeed shrinking population. But so are South Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand. In all these markets, raising the women’s labor force participation rate offers the obvious solution to an aging workforce.</p> <p>More intriguingly, however, the benefit of raisingwomen’s labor force participation may go beyond thesimple compensation of more women working to offset the aging and/or shrinking labor force. Drawing on evidence from Western Europe, a Goldman Sachs study found that, paradoxically, the socio-economic conditions that are conducive for more women to enter the labor force are also the same ones that encourage women to have more children. These are conditions of affordable and readily available child care services, generous maternity leave and benefits, and little or no wage gap. These conditions encourage women to both work and have children, as opposed to choosing between work or having children. So setting the right policies to raise women’s labor force participation may also address the more basic demographic issue of women’s declining fertility observed in aging societies.</p> <p>One thing is absolutely certain–– women make a great contribution to economic growth and development. What is often unclear is how much of women’s potential contribution is being utilized, and how much is being wasted. A rigorous analysis of the track record of women’s labor force participation in Asian economies and how it is affected by country-specific conditions will assist in developing a better understanding of how to more effectively utilize women’s potential economic contribution in the region.</p> <p></p> Female Labor Force Participation and Economic Growth in Asia<p>Mao Zedong claimed that “Women hold up half the sky.” But are they afforded the same education and employment prospects as men, and are higher levels of female education and labor market participation commensurate with enhanced economic performance? Economic theory would argue strongly for the latter since an increase in the supply of productive workers should <i>ceteris paribus </i>be associated with higher levels of per capita GDP.</p> <p>East Asia’s post World War II rise was indeed accompanied by moves to almost uniform primary and secondary education for both sexes and in more recent decades, massive expansions of tertiary education participation rates. The ASEAN-Tiger economies, and more recently Vietnam, have been treading similar paths and positive trends are now also emerging from other lessdeveloped ASEAN economies. By contrast, South Asia’s record is not good, with Pakistan a significant laggard.&nbsp;</p> <p>Furthermore, higher levels of female education have not always translated into enhanced participation rates in the labor force, implying that some countries are passing up significant potential productivity and growth opportunities. In this report we explore trends in East and South Asia’s female education and labor market data series over the past forty years and offer our assessment of who stands to gain the most from improvements in female participation rates.</p> <p></p> Education, Productivity, and Women’s Contribution to Economic Growth<p>Economic growth is a function of both the supply of input factors –– land, labor and capital–– and the productivity of these factors. It is relatively simple, at least in theory, to produce a growth spurt in a poor economy with a rapidly growing population and a low stock of starting capital. In comparison, maintaining a growth spurt beyond middle income status has been historically harder and requires institutional changes conducive to sustainably boosting factor productivity.</p> <p>In this paper we restrict our focus to the role of education in boosting labor productivity and, specifically, trends in female education enrollment and labor force participation rates. Our principal findings can be summarized as follows.</p> <p>First, the evidence seems compelling that increased rates of enrollment in secondary education are strongly related to higher rates of labor productivity. Second, although higher rates of tertiary education enrollment are again positively related to higher productivity outcomes, returns would appear to diminish beyond a certain threshold. Finally, given the demographic challenges that many East Asian economies will face, or are already facing, there seems to be a disappointingly weak relationship between an increasing supply of highly educated females and generally moribund female labor participation rates.</p> <p>Why should this be so? We could argue that this is likely attributable to economic as much as cultural/chauvinistic explanations, for throughout the world the burden of care for both children and the aged continues to fall primarily on working age women. We would therefore posit that if countries wish to endogenously boost their labor supplies in the face of slowing (or even shrinking) overall working population growth, there is a requirement to promote policies that alleviate the burdens of the principal carers’ cohort.</p> <p>If rapid birth rates alone were the secret to economic prosperity, then Mali, Niger, and Somalia would all be economic powerhouses. Unfortunately, it matters not only how fecund a country is, but how it educates and employs the additional populace. As East Asia has amply demonstrated over the past half century, one of the fastest routes to sustainable income growth is to move surplus labor from the countryside to the factory. However, to achieve this requires stable and predictable macroeconomic and social management, the provision of a modicum of reliable infrastructure, and at least a moderately educated labor force. As Chart 1 shows, there is a clear and positive relationship between rates of secondary education enrollment and output per employee.</p> <p><b>Chart 1. Productivity versus Secondary Education Enrollment Rates, Latest Year</b></p> <p>As Chart 2 suggests, the relationship continues to hold for tertiary enrollment but it appears that beyond a</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart1.JPG" target="_blank"><img height="490" width="559" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart1.JPG"></a></p> <p>certain level, the returns to a college degree or equivalent may start to diminish. It is beyond the scope of this paper to speculate in any detail as to why this might be the case. One might want to consider that although there has been a massive expansion in tertiary education opportunities in the developed world, this has not always been accompanied by an expansion in the number of high quality educators or educated. Myriad surveys of employers seem to suggest that there is a growing mismatch between the skills and expectations of those graduating from many tertiary institutions, and the employability requirements of their employers.</p> <p><b>Chart 2. Productivity versus Tertiary Enrollment Rates, Latest Year</b></p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart2.JPG" target="_blank"><img height="490" width="558" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart2.JPG"></a></p> <p>Finally, despite the very real gains achieved in boosting female education enrollment rates, average participation rates of women in the labor force remain stuck at around half, and lag significantly in many cases, their male equivalents (Charts 3 and 4). In an aging world, many countries would seem to be underutilizing a major potential source of growth by failing to adequately leverage their rising cohorts of increasingly educated women.</p> <p><b>Chart 3. All Country Sample Female Education Enrollment and Labor Participation Rate</b></p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart3.JPG" target="_blank"><img src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart3.JPG"></a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart3.1.JPG"><img src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart3.1.JPG"></a></p> <p><b>Chart 4. Labor Participation Rates, Latest Year</b></p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart4.JPG" target="_blank"><img height="298" width="579" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart4.JPG"></a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart4.1.JPG"><img height="299" width="580" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart4.1.JPG"></a></p> <p></p> The Case Study of Japan<p>Japan provides us with a salient case study. Not only does it report excellent data going back almost a century, but it has also been inordinately successful in raising female education levels and creating very high levels of societal wealth. Yet at the same time, the economy has struggled to grow since the bubble burst in 1990 and the role of women in the workforce remains, some might argue, truncated.</p> <p>Returning Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promised to reinvigorate Japan under his “Three Arrows” Agenda for Economic Revival and his deployment of Arrows One and Two, aggressive monetary and fiscal stimulus, have at least succeeded in jolting the stock market higher and the Yen lower. Nevertheless, it is his Third Arrow of structural reform that will arguably make or break Japan, and it is this arrow that has hitherto been barely unsheathed. Prior to July’s Upper House elections, Abe had been (from electoral reasons understandably) reluctant to reveal too many difficult reforms.</p> <p>Nevertheless, the administration has claimed that it understands the need to boost female labor force participation. It remains to be seen though whether statements of intent will translate into true policy priorities, or whether mere lip-service is being paid to a longstanding yet hitherto barely addressed weakness.</p> <p>As Chart 5 shows, Japan achieved universal primary education by the 1930s and in the following decades, secondary education enrollment rates also surged in tandem with labor productivity. Moreover, as Chart 6 below shows, women were by no means disadvantaged in their access to education especially in the post-War decades.</p> <p><b>Chart 6. Japan Gross Secondary and Tertiary Education Enrollment Rates</b></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart6.JPG"><img height="335" width="501" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart6.JPG"></a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart6.1.JPG"><img height="333" width="502" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart6.1.JPG"></a></p> <p><b>Chart 5. Japan Education Enrollment Rates and Output Per Employee</b></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart5.JPG"><img height="284" width="505" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart5.JPG"></a></p> <p>Yet over the same period, as Chart 7 illustrates, the female labor participation rate rarely exceeded 50% even as the male participation rate steadily fell. So why should low female participation rates persist in Japan despite the very real gains achieved in female education? Although state support for the principal carer cohorts is generally perceived as being underdeveloped, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that ingrained, misogynist employer attitudes might also have played a role. For example, according to a November 2011 study by the Centre for Work-Life Policy: “Career minded and ambitious Japanese women prefer to work at multinational companies which they feel are more sensitive to the needs of women than private sector Japanese companies.... Sixty-eight percent believe that U.S.- or EU-headquartered companies are more woman-friendly than Japanese firms.” One might also fairly assume that non-Japanese employers are also more willing to offer more similar rates of pay to men and women alike based on Japan’s (and Korea’s) stark outlier status on Chart 8 below. The good news is that there is a lot of low hanging fruit to be plucked potentially. Potential and realization may not however always be the same.</p> <p><b>Chart 7. Japan Labor Participation Rates</b></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart7.JPG"><img height="249" width="546" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart7.JPG"></a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart7.1.JPG"><img height="247" width="546" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart7.1.JPG"></a></p> <p><b>Chart 8. OECD Countries Gender-Wage Gap*</b></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart8.JPG"><img height="251" width="548" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart8.JPG"></a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart8.1.JPG"><img height="253" width="548" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart8.1.JPG"></a></p> <p>Japan (and Korea’s) poor female participation rates and ostensive labor force gender inequalities also need to be put in the context of their very weak rates of overall labor force growth (or in Japan’s case shrinkage) shown on Chart 9. Weak labor force growth rates are principally associated with low levels of fertility. The replacement rate for a population, i.e. the number of births per mother required to maintain a constant population, is generally estimated to be around 2.1 (in countries with low rates of child mortality). Replacement rates in developed North Asia are clustered around 0.9-1.2 though. Japan’s population shrunk at an annualized rate of 0.1% over 2008-12 while Taiwan, Korea and Hong Kong struggled to eke out meager average per annum gains of 0.3%, 0.6% and 0.7% respectively. Furthermore, even if North Asian women start producing babies at a massively enhanced rate today, their offspring will not be entering the workforce for a couple of decades.</p> <p>Only Singapore, despite having a local population fertility rate of only 1.2 in 2011, has managed to buck the trend in aggregate thanks to massive immigration. (Singapore has also managed successfully to boost its female labor participation, as the earlier chart on Page 7 illustrates.) This influx of foreign workers has driven population growth up by an average of 3% per annum over the past five years but the authorities are now contending with the social consequences. Hong Kong too, with a much lower overall immigration rate, has also seen rising social tensions over the supposed flood of Mainlanders entering the SAR. And these are probably the two most cosmopolitan places in Asia. We would submit that it is highly unlikely that we will see the other developed North Asian countries deciding to throw open their doors to masses of overseas workers. An additional factor to consider is a country’s capital stock. A rule of thumb is that the higher the capital stock per capita installed, the harder it is to develop increasing returns on the capital stock employed. Chart 10 shows Japan is by far the world leader in this area. This all leads one to the conclusion that if a country has a low indigenous birth rate and minimal labor force expansion, and it already possesses a well-endowed domestic capital stock, then higher economic growth has to be largely a function of increased returns on factors employed (implying the embrace of often politically-difficult-to-implement supply side reforms) or an exogenous or endogenous boost to the labor force. And in turn this latter boost can either come from immigration, or if participation rates are low, by getting increased numbers of, one hopes, highly-educated females to enter the labor force.</p> <p><b>Chart 9. Average Annual Labor Force Growth 2008 – 2012</b></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart9.JPG"><img height="218" width="547" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart9.JPG"></a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart9.1.JPG"><img height="215" width="545" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart9.1.JPG"></a></p> <p><b>Chart 10. 2011 Capital Stock Per Capita, US Dollars</b></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart10.JPG"><img height="215" width="544" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart10.JPG"></a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart10.1.JPG"><img height="214" width="544" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart10.1.JPG"></a></p> Where Japan goes do others follow?<p>Having set out this admittedly stylized roadmap, let us now consider how Japan compares to its OECD peers, and how the remaining Asian countries in our sample compare to Japan at its earlier stages of development. In 1980, Japanese females were as well-educated as most of their peers in the developed world (Americans aside), and had similar rates of labor force participation (Chart 11). Education levels have risen further since, yet Japanese female labor force participation rates have barely budged in contrast to the significant increases seen elsewhere (Chart 12).<br> </p> <p><b>Chart 11. Current Female Education Enrollment and Labor Force Participation Rates</b></p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart11.JPG" target="_blank"><img height="257" width="478" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart11.JPG"></a></p> <p><b>Chart 12. Female Education Enrollment and Labor Force Participation Rates, 1980</b></p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart12.JPG" target="_blank"><img height="257" width="479" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart12.JPG"></a></p> <p>Charts 13 and 14 suggest that Japanese women have also stepped back relative to females in the Newly Industrialized Countries of Asia or NICs. In 1980 Japanese ladies were significantly better educated than their neighbors and also participated in greater proportions in the workforce. A quarter of a century on, Japan has fallen to the back of the pack on pretty much every measure. Unfortunately, Singapore aside, this group of countries seems overall not to make the best use of their large cohort of educated females.</p> <p><b>Chart 13. Current Female Education Enrollment and Labor Force Participation Rates</b></p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart13.JPG" target="_blank"><img height="271" width="480" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart13.JPG"></a></p> <p><b>Chart 14. Female Education Enrollment and Labor Force Participation Rates, 1980</b></p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart14.JPG" target="_blank"><img height="265" width="490" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart14.JPG"></a></p> <p>The successful development path of the NICs set the stage for other developing countries to follow (we have grouped the ASEAN-4 plus China as the “Tigers”here). The patterns shown on Charts 15 and 16 are somewhat less uniform however. Malaysia, the richest of this group of countries, and with one of highest proportions of females in tertiary education, has a female labor force participation rate barely above 40%. Filipina education levels were significantly ahead of their peers (and indeed those in the NICs) in 1980 and remain pretty creditable today. Yet there has been little sign of a productivity or female labor force participation rate surge in the intervening quarter century. Indonesian female education endowments have improved significantly since 1980 but participation rates have been rather static. And Thailand and China, although seeing their very high female participation rates fall in line with their reliance on agriculture, have succeeded in continuing to find ample employment opportunities for their increasingly educated ladies.</p> <p><b>Chart 15. Current Female Education Enrollment and Labor Force Participation Rates</b></p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart15.JPG" target="_blank"><img height="237" width="494" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart15.JPG"></a></p> <p><b>Chart 16. Female Education Enrollment and Labor Force Participation Rates, 1980</b></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart16.JPG"><img height="236" width="495" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart16.JPG"></a></p> <p>For South Asia (Charts 17 and 18), we have restricted ourselves to looking at primary and secondary education enrollment rates since tertiary penetration remains rather low. We have also chosen to employ Indonesia ten years earlier as our comparator country for a couple of reasons. First, economic reform processes on the Subcontinent generally began in earnest only in the 1990s whereas the Tigers for the most part embarked on theirs at least a decade earlier. Second, it is useful to have a developing Islamic-majority country as a control although as we have already seen Malaysia does not have a good record on female employment while Indonesia’s record is roughly in line with regional averages. Indeed, the very visible contrast between Bangladesh and Pakistan suggests that religious-based explanations are rather weak. What is clear is that Bangladesh is a standout on a Subcontinent with a generally poor record of female empowerment. To be fair, Sri Lankan education indicators have tended to be both good and gender-equal over the decades and there may&nbsp;be conflict-related factors at work in suppressing female labor force participation rates.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Chart 17. Current Female Education Enrollment and Labor Force Participation Rates</b></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart17.JPG"><img height="241" width="504" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart17.JPG"></a></p> <p><b>Chart 18. Female Education Enrollment and Labor Force Participation Rates, 1990</b></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart18.JPG"><img height="242" width="503" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart18.JPG"></a></p> <p>We shall have to see if increased female employment is one of the peace dividends garnered. By contrast, the records of both India and Pakistan are not good. We would submit that irrespective of education opportunities for females (where India at least fares better), it is the conditions for overall job creation, especially in labor-intensive manufacturing that will determine whether female, and indeed overall participation rates will rise. Recall from the earlier page that Bangladesh aside, formal labor force participation rates across the Subcontinent are the worst in our sample. Finally we turn to the ASEAN nations more recently embarking on programs of economic reform and opening up up to the outside world. On measures of female education and employment, the portents seem good (Charts 19 and 20). Universal primary education has been achieved while secondary enrollment rates for&nbsp;women ex-Cambodia are comparable with or better than those achieved by Indonesia a decade earlier.</p> <p><b>Chart 19. Current Female Education Enrollment and Labor Force Participation Rates</b></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart19.JPG"><img height="242" width="505" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart19.JPG"></a></p> <p><b>Chart 20. Female Education Enrollment and Labor Force Participation Rates, 1990</b></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart20.JPG"><img height="242" width="509" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/womens-chart20.JPG"></a></p> <p>This bodes well for future productivity growth, especially if labor laws remain employer and investor friendly, and infrastructure is successfully upgraded. It should be noted that Indochina’s still heavy dependence on agriculture almost certainly boosts its female labor force participation rates. Nevertheless, it would appear that Vietnam, the most industrialized of the three is following the path trodden by China and Thailand by maintaining high female employment shares. Can Cambodia and ultimately Myanmar achieve the same?</p> Conclusion<p>The good news from this brief survey is that a couple laggards aside, East and South Asia have successfully boosted the education levels of both men and women over the past four decades, and have hence seen labor productivity levels rise in tandem. The rather less positive news is that many within these increasingly large cohorts of educated women have struggled to find suitable employment opportunities. Perhaps they just do not want to work. Perhaps support mechanisms for child and elderly care are inadequate. And perhaps traditional, chauvinistic cultural attitudes have yet to be fully diluted. Whatever the explanation, in a region where many societies are rapidly aging and overall labor force growth is slowing or even contracting, passing up on the opportunity to employ large numbers of highly educated females feels like a self-inflicted wound. Governments might do well to consider adopting female labor force participation-friendly policies.</p> The MasterCard report titled ‘Women Power and Economic Growth in Asia’ examines the contribution to economic growth made by women through a detailed analysis of women’s labor force participation in the key economies of East, Southeast and South Asia. Specifically, the study which looks at 17 markets in Asia aims to identify the role of education in boosting labor productivity.http://www1.mastercard.com/content/intelligence/en/research/reports/2013/women-power-and-economic-growth-in-asia-by-simon-ogus-with-intro2013-09-22T16:00:00.000Z2013-09-22T16:00:00.000ZMasterCard Index of Women's Advancement 2013 Findings on Women's Progress towards Gender Parity in Employment, Capability & Leadership Alexis ChongMASTERCARD INDEX OF WOMEN’S ADVANCEMENT (MIWA) 2013<p style="text-align: center;"><i>Top 3 overall rankings held by Asia/Pacific countries;<br> Cultural norms and beliefs the largest bottlenecks to women's advancement and are most pronounced in South Asian countries;<br> More systemic changes required to enhance pathways for women's advancement&nbsp;</i></p> <p>The 2013 MasterCard Index of Women's Advancement revealed that women in the majority of the 26 markets covered (excluding Kenya and Nigeria owing to insufficient data) across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa had progressed in gender parity in terms of Employment (Workforce Participation and Regular Employment), Capability (Secondary and Tertiary Education), and Leadership (Business Owners, Business Leaders and Political Leaders) as compared to their male counterparts. The top 3 overall MIWA scores across all markets were secured by those within Asia/Pacific. Women in New Zealand took first spot with an overall score of 77.8 (2012: 77.7), while those in Australia and the Philippines came second and third with 76.0 (2012: 75.9) and 70.5 (2012: 70.3), respectively.</p> A. ASIA/PACIFIC<p style="text-align: center;"><i>Korean women advanced the most in gender parity since 2007 in terms of capability;<br> Highest progress in workforce participation and regular employment reflected among women in New Zealand from a year ago;<br> Indonesian women making encouraging headway in terms of leadership and employment.</i></p> <p>The Asia/Pacific region includes Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam.<br> </p> <p><b><u>MIWA 2013: Asia/Pacific Region</u></b><i><b></b></i></p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-AP.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="531" height="236" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-AP.jpg"></a></p> <p>Within Asia/Pacific, Japan and China were the only markets whose overall scores decreased from the previous year: Japan (48.1, down by -1.1 index points) and China (61.5, down by -0.1 index points). Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam remained unchanged from 2012.</p> <p>In terms of employment, women in New Zealand and Australia were found to be the most economically active relative to their male counterparts within the region, scoring 91.2 and 90.5, respectively.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-NZ.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="525" height="263" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-NZ.jpg"></a></p> <p>Since 2007, Indonesian women advanced the most compared to their regional peers in terms of contribution towards the workforce, with an increase in score of 2.9 index points from 71.5 to 74.4 in 2013.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-ID.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="525" height="263" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-ID.jpg"></a></p> <p>In contrast, workforce participation and employment opportunities for women in Thailand compared to their male counterparts decreased the most, with the index shedding 2.0 index points from 87.6 in 2007 to 85.6 in 2013.</p> <p>In terms of capability, women in Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, New Zealand, China and Vietnam were found to be on par with their male counterparts (score of 100.0) in basic and advanced knowledge assets. Although Korean women had the lowest score in 2013 (84.5), between 2007 and 2013, they showed the most progress toward gender parity (up 3.0 index points from 2007). In contrast, Indonesia had the biggest drop in index points since 2007 (down 7.9 index points from 99.6 to 91.7), followed by Australia (down 1.6 index points from 99.1 to 97.5).</p> <p>In terms of leadership, New Zealand led the group with a score of 51.6, followed by Australia (49.7) and the Philippines (45.6); while Japan had the weakest score of 14.2.</p> <p><b>Australia: New Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 should help promote women's leadership and advancement</b></p> <p>According to the 2012 Australian Census of Women in Leadership[<a href="#_ftn1">1</a>], women assumed 12.3% of ASX 200 directorships, up from 8.4% in 2010.&nbsp; However, in terms of executive key management personnel positions, women held only 9.7%, an increase of only 18 more women since 2010.&nbsp; The Census report suggested that in order to help women advance in their careers (ie. assume demanding executive positions), a shift in workplace culture needs to occur that allows women (and men) to achieve work-life balance.&nbsp; The new Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 was formulated to consolidate Australia's effort to accelerate gender equality in workplaces.&nbsp; Specifically, starting from the 2013-2014 reporting period, the government will set gender equality indicators such as gender composition of the workforce, conditions and practices relating to flexible and supportive working arrangements for employees with family or caring responsibilities, equal remuneration between women and men, among others.</p> <p>[1] Rodgers-Healey, Diann (2012) &quot;<i>2012 Australian Census of Women in Leadership (ACLW)&quot;</i>, November 2012, Online, <a href="http://www.leadershipforwomen.com.au/transform/item/2012-australian-census-of-women-in-leadership" target="_blank">http://www.leadershipforwomen.com.au/transform/item/2012-australian-census-of-women-in-leadership</a></p> <p><img width="524" height="262" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-AU.jpg"></p> <p>Between 2007 and 2013, the largest advancement toward gender parity in terms of leadership was achieved by women in Taiwan (an increase of 7.7 index points from 23.0 to 30.7) and the Philippines (an increase of 7.7 index points from 37.9 to 45.6).</p> <p><b>Malaysia: Government's quota for women's representation at decision-making level effective</b></p> <p>In terms of leadership, Malaysian women have made some progress in gender parity, with an increase of 1.6 index points from 19.5 in 2007 to 21.1 in 2013.&nbsp; According to McKinsey &amp; Company[<a href="#_ftn2">2</a>], the government's setting of a 30% target for the proportion of women at decision-making level in the public sector in 2004 had produced positive results. By 2010, that target had been exceeded with further plans being announced in 2011 to extend the quota to the private sector by 2016.</p> <p><a name="_ftnref2"></a>[2] McKinsey &amp; Company (2013) &quot;Women Matter: An Asian Perspective – Harnessing female talent to raise corporate performance&quot;, April 2013, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.leadershipforwomen.com.au/globalize/women-s-advancement-in-asia-pacific/item/women-matter-an-asian-perspective-harnessing-female-talent-to-raise-corporate-performance">http://www.leadershipforwomen.com.au/globalize/women-s-advancement-in-asia-pacific/item/women-matter-an-asian-perspective-harnessing-female-talent-to-raise-corporate-performance</a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-MY.jpg"><img width="524" height="262" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-MY.jpg"></a></p> <p>Looking ahead, the <i>Equal Futures Partnership[<a href="#_ftn3">3</a>]</i> launched on behalf of the United States along with 12 other founding members (of which Australia, Bangladesh, Morocco, New Zealand, Thailand and Indonesia are included) is expected to expand support for women entrepreneurs and break down barriers to women's political and economic participation.&nbsp; In Australia, increased efforts will be channeled towards improving women's representation and leadership in male-dominated industries, as well as committing to meeting the gender balance of 40% women on Government boards by 2015. In New Zealand, a &quot;commitment to action&quot; is expected to be launched through which private and public sector partners agree to increase gender diversity in leadership, and in 2013, will focus on effective measures for female leadership talent within the workplace.&nbsp; In Thailand, ongoing and increased efforts will be made to promote gender equality, while in Indonesia, a memorandum of understanding to advance women's participation in national and local elections has been implemented in conjunction with a strategy to advance women in decision-making positions and formalizing the definition of women-owned business.</p> <p><a name="_ftn3"></a>[3] The White House, &quot;<i>Equal Futures Partnership</i>&quot;, Office of the Press Secretary, April 19, 2013, Online: <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/04/19/fact-sheet-equal-futures-partnership-promise-progress" target="_blank">http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/04/19/fact-sheet-equal-futures-partnership-promise-progress</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> B. SOUTH ASIA<p style="text-align: center;"><i>All countries in South Asia advanced from the year prior;<br> Nepalese women took the reins with an overall score of 55.0 in 2013;<br> Much more needs to be done to empower women in South Asia towards greater gender parity in leadership.</i></p> <p>The South Asian region includes India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.</p> <p><b><u>MIWA 2013: South Asia Region</u></b></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-SA.jpg"><img width="524" height="224" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-SA.jpg"></a></p> <p>Overall, Nepalese women advanced the most in gender parity within the South Asia region with a score of 55.0 in 2013 (2012: 54.6). Since 2007, they have made the most pronounced progress with an increase in overall score of 12.7 index points from 42.3 in 2007. They also ranked the highest in leadership in the region with a score of 38.4, up 18.2 index points from 20.2 in 2007. However, in terms of access to secondary and tertiary education, they exhibited the highest degree of disparity relative to males with a score of 73.4, the lowest among all 26 countries covered.</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-NP.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="526" height="265" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-NP.jpg"></a></p> <p><b>Pakistan: Lowest in ranking, progress stagnant</b></p> <p>Women in Pakistan came in last with the lowest overall MIWA score of 23.0 among their regional peers in 2013. They also ranked the lowest relative to their male counterparts in leadership with a mere score of 3.5, a decrease of 3.1 index points from 6.6 in 2007.&nbsp; These observations of women’s slow advancement in Pakistan are echoed in the article “Women’s progress is a Mirage in Pakistan” by Nosheen Abbas (2010)[<a href="#_ftn4">4</a>]. HR Manager of Safe World for Women (SAWERA), a non-profit, non-governmental and non-political organization attributed this to several factors: (i) high unemployment, (ii) low financial status, and (iii) lack of contribution in most activities and decision making by women in the country[<a href="#_ftn5">5</a>].&nbsp; Although they comprise half of the total population, in terms of employment Pakistani women’s MIWA score was only 39.7 – the lowest progress achieved among women across all 26 markets.</p> <p><a name="_ftn4"></a>[4] Abbas, Nosheen (2010). “<i>Women’s progress is a Mirage in Pakistan</i>”, Online: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nosheen-abbas/womens-progress-is-a-mira_b_409423">http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nosheen-abbas/womens-progress-is-a-mira_b_409423</a>.</p> <p></p> <p><a name="_ftn5"></a>[5] Safe World for Women (SAWERA), <a target="_blank" href="http://www.asafeworldforwomen.org/">http://www.asafeworldforwomen.org/</a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-PK.jpg"><img width="526" height="265" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-PK.jpg"></a></p> <p>Sri Lanka was the only South Asian market with a score of 100.0 in terms of capability.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-SL.jpg"><img width="526" height="265" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-SL.jpg"></a></p> C. MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA<p style="text-align: center;"><i>South African women outshine regional peers in leadership and employment;<br> Pro-women initiatives in Bahrain encouraging;<br> Barriers to achieving gender equality most apparent in Saudi Arabia</i></p> <p>Middle East and Africa includes Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Morocco, South Africa, Bahrain, and Oman.&nbsp; Kenya and Nigeria are not covered by MWiWA due to insufficient data for too many of the component variables.</p> <p><b><u>MIWA 2013: Middle East and Africa Region</u></b></p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-MEA.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="525" height="230" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-MEA.jpg"></a></p> <p>With an overall score of 71.9, South Africa came in first, followed by Bahrain (58.7) and Oman (41.6) for 2013.&nbsp; In particular, women in South Africa have done well in terms of business and political leadership advancement relative to their male counterparts, scoring a commendable 43.8 (and better than most women in Asia/Pacific countries). This may be attributed to the huge role that they played in campaigning against the exploitation of African people, as well as their struggle for gender equality[<a href="#_ftn6">6</a>]. &nbsp;In 2010, South African women held 44% of parliamentary seats (the 3<sup>rd</sup> highest in the world) and 41% of cabinet posts, including those typically assigned to men: defense, science and technology, foreign affairs, home affairs, mining and agriculture[<a href="#_ftn7">7</a>].</p> <p>In terms of employment, women in South Africa again topped the ranking among its regional peers with a score of 85.0, nearly as high as that of Singapore.&nbsp; It is apparent that complex gender-related issues are still significantly inherent in the cultural structure in South Africa. Despite the passage of the Employment Equity Act (1998), which requires companies with over 50 employees to hire and promote women in proportion to their representation in the population as a whole (52%), South African men still dominate senior management and company boards in both public and private sectors.&nbsp; The Women’s Business Association also noted that 20% of the country’s private sector boards have no women and only 10% of Chief executives and board chairmen are women[<a href="#_ftn7">7</a>].</p> <p><a name="_ftn6"></a>[6] Azikiwe, Abayomi (2010). “<i>Women at forefront of Africa’s Liberation Struggles</i>”, Pan-African News Wire, August 13, 2010, Online: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.workers.org/2010/world/women_africa_0819/">http://www.workers.org/2010/world/women_africa_0819/</a></p> <p><a name="_ftn7"></a>[7] The Economist, “<i>Women in South Africa: Walking several paces behind</i>”, 7<sup>th</sup> Oct 2010, Online: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.economist.com/node/17204625">http://www.economist.com/node/17204625</a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-SAF.jpg"><img width="528" height="266" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-SAF.jpg"></a></p> <p>Women in Saudi Arabia achieved the least progress in gender parity relative to their regional peers with an overall MIWA score of 18.2 (2007: 18.4).&nbsp; The number of female business owners, business leaders and political leaders was also lowest in Saudi Arabia: the leadership sub-index was only 1.3, unchanged from that in 2007, and the lowest across all 26 markets.</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-Saudi.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="528" height="266" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-Saudi.jpg"></a></p> <p><b>Bahrain: Notable improvement in gender parity</b></p> <p>During the period 2007 to 2013, women in Bahrain advanced the most in gender parity with the overall score increasing by 16.1 index points from 42.6 to 58.7 (second in ranking trailing South Africa in 2013). They also progressed most markedly in leadership with the score increasing by 18.5 points from 11.7 to 30.1 throughout the period.&nbsp; The Bahrain Institute for Political Development (BIPD), in conjunction with the Supreme Council for Women signed an agreement in October 2012 that is geared towards engaging Bahraini women in the political decision-making process, as well as encouraging women to participate in the elections both as voters and candidates. This was in recognition of Bahraini women’s accumulation of expertise, influence and confidence overtime which has allowed them to rise to the position of minister, parliamentarian, and other high-ranking posts both locally and globally[<a href="#_ftnref8">8</a>]</p> <p><a name="_ftnref8"></a>[8] Al-Jayousi, Mohammed (2012), &quot;<i>New Bahrain programme aims to increase women political participation</i>&quot;, Manama, November 2012, Online: <a target="_blank" href="http://al-shorfa.com/en_GB/articles/meii/features/2012/11/16/feature-01">http://al-shorfa.com/en_GB/articles/meii/features/2012/11/16/feature-01</a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-Bah.jpg"><img width="524" height="264" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/MIWA2013-Bah.jpg"></a></p> CONCLUSION<p>The 2013 MasterCard Index of Women’s Advancement indicated that although women in most countries have made incremental progress in gender parity in terms of employment, capability and leadership relative to their male counterparts, more systemic changes are required to enhance the pathways supporting women’s advancement.&nbsp; The index showed that women in New Zealand, Australia and the Philippines achieved the most substantial progress with overall scores of 77.8, 76.0 and 70.5, respectively.</p> <p>Within Asia/Pacific, Korean women advanced the most in gender parity since 2007 in terms of capability. The highest progress in workforce participation and regular employment was reflected among women in New Zealand from a year ago. Japan and China were the only markets whose overall score decreased from the previous year: Japan (48.1, down by -1.1 index points) and China (61.5, down by -0.1 index points). Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam remained unchanged from 2012. In terms of employment, women in New Zealand and Australia were found to be the most economically active relative to their male counterparts in the region, scoring 91.2 and 90.5, respectively. </p> <p>In South Asia, all countries advanced from the year prior, with Nepalese women leading the way with an overall score of 55.0.&nbsp; They also made the largest progress with an increase in overall score of 12.7 index points from 42.3 in 2007, and ranked the highest in leadership in the region with a score of 38.4, up 18.2 index points from 20.2 in 2007.&nbsp; In contrast, women in Pakistan showed the weakest progress, with a lowest overall MIWA score of 23.0 among their regional peers in 2013.&nbsp; They also ranked the lowest relative to their male counterparts in leadership with a mere score of 3.5, a decrease of 3.1 index points from 6.6 in 2007.</p> <p>In the Middle East and Africa region, South African women outshone their regional peers in leadership and employment with an overall score of 71.9, followed by Bahrain (58.7) and Oman (41.6). Women in South Africa also fared particularly well in terms of business and political leadership advancement relative to their male counterparts, scoring a commendable 43.8 (and better than most women in Asia/Pacific countries). In terms of employment, women in South Africa again topped the ranking among its regional peers with a score of 85.0, nearly as high as that in Singapore. In contrast, women in Saudi Arabia achieved the least progress in gender parity relative to their regional peers with an overall MIWA score of 18.2 (2007: 18.4). The number of female business owners, business leaders and political leaders was also lowest in Saudi Arabia: the leadership sub-index was only 1.3, unchanged from that in 2007, and the lowest across all 26 markets.</p> About the Author<p>Alexis Chong is a consultant who specializes in providing business and research reporting and analytical services to clients in Asia/Pacific. Her main focus is on assisting clients in analyzing, preparing and documenting research proposals, business and investment recommendations, project tendering, and feasibility studies spanning various sectors including financial services, information technology and communication, software testing, and logistics.&nbsp; Alexis holds a B.A. in Electronic Commerce &amp; Marketing and a M.A. in Electronic Commerce from Curtin University, Western Australia.</p> The 2013 MasterCard Index of Women’s Advancement revealed that women in the majority of the 26 markets covered (excluding Kenya and Nigeria owing to insufficient data) across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa had progressed in gender parity in terms of Employment (Workforce Participation and Regular Employment), Capability (Secondary and Tertiary Education), and Leadership (Business Owners, Business Leaders and Political Leaders) as compared to their male counterparts. The top 3 overall MIWA scores across all markets were secured by those within Asia/Pacific. http://www1.mastercard.com/content/intelligence/en/research/reports/2013/mastercard-index-of-womens-advancement-2013-findings-on-womens-p2013-03-05T16:00:00.000Z2013-03-05T16:00:00.000ZSupplementary Findings: Mastercard Survey On Advancing Women's Role In Society Alexis Chong1. More Seats For Women In Parliament Will Have The Most Effect<p>&nbsp;</p> <p></p> Asia/Pacific<p>Among Asia/Pacific respondents, the opinion that greater female representation in Parliament will have the greatest impact was most prominent in 3 countries: Philippines, Vietnam and China, and highly reflected among both women and men. More than one-fifth (20.9%) of women in the Philippines ranked more women parliamentarians as having the most impact in promoting women’s advancement in society. A significant percentage of Filipino men (24.1%) also shared the same opinion.</p> <p>A similar pattern was observed in Vietnam and China among both women and men: Vietnam (women: 19.6%; men: 14.7%) and China (women: 18.5%; men: 25.2%). It is interesting to note that the actual percentages of female parliamentarians in these countries are quite high: Philippines (22.1%), Vietnam (24.4%), and China (21.3%). It is possible that people have seen the benefits of having women serving in the parliament, and they actually want to see even more of them continue making this contribution.</p> <p><b><i>Significant Challenges Ahead for Women Seeking Equal Participation in Politics</i></b><b><i></i></b></p> <p>The belief that women’s representation in Parliament will aid women’s advancement in society as revealed in the MasterCard survey is certainly not new. Various studies have underscored that the slow progress is worldwide. For example, the 2012 Global Map on Women in Politics launched by UN Women and the Inter-Parliamentary Union during the UN Commission on the Status of Women revealed the following statistics as of 2012[<a href="#_ftn1">1</a>]:</p> <p><u>Table 1: Breakdown of Respondents' Opinion - Asia/Pacific</u></p> <table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tbody><tr><th class="table-description">More seats for women in Parliament</th> <th class="table-description">Female (%)</th> <th class="table-description">Male (%)</th> <th class="table-description"><b>Actual % of Females<br> in Parliament </b>[<a href="#_ftn2">2</a>]</th> </tr><tr><td><b>Philippines</b></td> <td>20.9</td> <td>24.1</td> <td>22.1</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Vietnam</b></td> <td>19.6</td> <td>14.7</td> <td>24.4</td> </tr><tr><td><b>China</b></td> <td>18.5</td> <td>25.2</td> <td>21.3</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Myanmar</b></td> <td>14.5</td> <td>16.4</td> <td>4.6</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Hong Kong</b></td> <td>14.0</td> <td>15.2</td> <td>18.5</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Malaysia</b></td> <td>13.7</td> <td>15.5</td> <td>13.2</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Australia</b></td> <td>13.4</td> <td>13.7</td> <td>29.2</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Singapore</b></td> <td>13.1</td> <td>16.4</td> <td>24.2</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Thailand</b></td> <td>11.9</td> <td>21.5</td> <td>15.7</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Indonesia</b></td> <td>11.5</td> <td>14.2</td> <td>18.6</td> </tr><tr><td><b>New Zealand</b></td> <td>10.0</td> <td>9.5</td> <td>32.2</td> </tr><tr><td><b>South Korea</b></td> <td>8.8</td> <td>9.5</td> <td>15.7</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Taiwan</b></td> <td>8.7</td> <td>13.5</td> <td>30.3</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Japan</b></td> <td>8.0</td> <td>11.2</td> <td>11.3</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p><i>Source: MasterCard Survey on Advancing Women’s Role in Society (2012H2)</i></p> <ul> <li>Out of 193 countries, only 17 have women as Heads of State or in the Government (up from 2005 when only 8 countries had women leaders),</li> <li>Only 19.5% of legislators are women, a mere half-point increase from two years ago,</li> <li>In Australia and New Zealand, the percentage of women ministers is 11%, followed by Asia at 10%, and the Arab states the lowest at only 7%.</li> </ul> <p>In Vietnam, despite efforts by the <i>Vietnam Women’s Union Central Committee’s </i>proposal in 2011 to raise the proportion of women to 30% in the National Assembly, this target was not reached[<a href="#_ftn1">1</a>].&nbsp; As shown in Table 1 above, the percentage of female parliamentarians in 2013 was only 24.4%.</p> <p></p> <p><a name="_ftn1"></a><sup>1</sup>&quot;Women in Parliament in 2011: The Year in Perspective&quot;, Inter-Parliamentary Union 2011, Online &nbsp;<a href="http://www.ipu.org/pdf/publications/wmnpersp11-e.pdf" target="_blank">http://www.ipu.org/pdf/publications/wmnpersp11-e.pdf</a><br> <a name="_ftn2"></a><sup>2</sup>Actual percentage of female parliamentarians in 2013, Source: Inter-Parliamentary Union</p> <p></p> South Asia<p>The proportion of South Asian respondents sharing the opinion that having more seats in parliament for women will have the most effect in advancing women’s role in society was generally less pronounced. In Bangladesh, the parliament continues to be substantially male-dominated (more than 80% of parliamentarians are male in 2013, compared to 85% in 2007)[<a href="#_ftn3">3</a>]. &nbsp;</p> <p>As noted by Mohiudddin Ahmed Chowdhury, author of &quot;Bangladesh towards 21st century&quot;, women in Bangladesh have remained outside the political arena and their struggle for democracy in election campaigns and community work had imparted little influence in society[<a href="#_ftn4">4</a>].&nbsp;</p> <p><u>Table 2: Breakdown of Respondents' Opinion – South Asia</u></p> <table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tbody><tr><th class="table-description">More seats for women in Parliament</th> <th class="table-description">Female (%)</th> <th class="table-description">Male (%)</th> <th class="table-description"><b>Actual % of Females<br> in Parliament </b>[<a href="#_ftn5">5</a>]</th> </tr><tr><td><b>Bangladesh</b></td> <td>12.6</td> <td>9.1</td> <td>19.7</td> </tr><tr><td><b>India</b></td> <td>19.5</td> <td>18.8</td> <td>10.9</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p><i>Source: MasterCard Survey on Advancing Women's Role in Society (2012H2)</i></p> <p>Author Kamal Uddin Ahmed of the article “Women and Politics in Bangladesh” made some notable comments:</p> <ul> <li>After 30 years of independence, notwithstanding the recent rise in general consensus among women’s organizations and groups over the need to increase the number of seats in parliament for women, and the fact that the top leaders of the two major political parties (BNP and AL) are women leaders, politics in Bangladesh continues to be male-dominated.&nbsp;</li> <li>Although women in Bangladesh have made some advancement in many fields that were previously dominated by men, a career in politics is not one of them due to various underlying factors such as social biases, enormous campaign costs that most women cannot afford, financial dependency, barriers arising from cultural and religious beliefs, and attitudes based on gender roles and stereotypes that persist even now[<a href="#_ftn6">6</a>].</li> </ul> <p><a name="_ftn3"></a><sup>3</sup>Actual percentage of female parliamentarians in 2013, Source: Inter-Parliamentary Union<br> <a name="_ftn4"></a><sup>4</sup>Choudhury, Mohiudddin Ahmed. &quot;Bangladesh towards 21st century&quot;, page 178, Quoted in article “Women and Politics in Bangladesh” by Kamal Uddin Ahmed, Online <a href="http://www.asiaticsociety.org.bd/journals/Golden_jubilee_vol/articles/H_446%20%28Kamal%20Uddin%29.htm#_ftn18" target="_blank">http://www.asiaticsociety.org.bd/journals/Golden_jubilee_vol/articles/H_446 (Kamal Uddin).htm#_ftn18</a><br> <a name="_ftn5"></a><sup>5</sup>Actual percentage of female parliamentarians in 2013, Source: Inter-Parliamentary Union<br> <a name="_ftn6"></a><sup>6</sup>&quot;Women in the Arab World Get Organized: In Kuwait, women are breaking down barriers&quot;, The World of Parliaments, Quarterly Review, October 2006, Online: <a href="http://www.ipu.org/news-e/23-4.htm" target="_blank">http://www.ipu.org/news-e/23-4.htm</a></p> Middle East & Africa<p>One of the most noteworthy findings of the MasterCard Survey is that <i>both</i> women and men in most Middle East and African countries[<a href="#_ftn7">7</a>] feel quite strongly that having more women in the political arena will help advance women's role in society. This single voice was echoed in 6 countries (Oman, Lebanon, Nigeria, Kenya, Kuwait, and South Africa), with Oman taking the rein (women: 29.9%; men: 27.2%).&nbsp;</p> <p><u>Table 3: Breakdown of Respondents' Opinion - Middle East &amp; Africa&nbsp;</u></p> <table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tbody><tr><th class="table-description">More seats for women in Parliament</th> <th class="table-description">Female (%)</th> <th class="table-description">Male (%)</th> <th class="table-description">Actual % of Females<br> in Parliament [<a href="#_ftn8">8</a>]</th> </tr><tr><td><b>Oman</b></td> <td>29.9</td> <td>27.2</td> <td>9.6</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Lebanon</b></td> <td>28.0</td> <td>28.2</td> <td>3.1</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Nigeria</b></td> <td>27.4</td> <td>26.5</td> <td>6.6</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Kenya</b></td> <td>23.8</td> <td>21.7</td> <td>9.8</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Kuwait</b></td> <td>22.7</td> <td>20.2</td> <td>6.2</td> </tr><tr><td><b>South Africa</b></td> <td>19.7</td> <td>17.8</td> <td>41.1</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Egypt</b></td> <td>15.9</td> <td>7.8</td> <td>2.2</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Qatar</b></td> <td>13.9</td> <td>16.7</td> <td>0.0</td> </tr><tr><td><b>United Arab Emirates</b></td> <td>14.1</td> <td>11.7</td> <td>17.5</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Saudi Arabia</b></td> <td>10.1</td> <td>10.2</td> <td>0.0</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Morocco</b></td> <td>7.8</td> <td>8.3</td> <td>11.0</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p><i>Source: MasterCard Survey on Advancing Women’s Role in Society (2012H2)</i></p> <p>This finding has significant implications:</p> <ul> <li>Most Middle Eastern women and men believe that women in their respective countries have the required competence, capability and confidence to be in politics. The underlying belief here is that having more women as parliamentarians will bring positive contribution to the economy and nation.</li> <li>Most Middle Eastern women and men want women to be granted the opportunity to be in politics, but the opportunity is not always realized due to long-held traditional practices, religious beliefs and assumption that the restrictions placed upon women by their societies would keep them from succeeding.</li> </ul> <p>In contrast, the opinion is shared less widely among men and women in Egypt, Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Morocco (the lowest in the region with 7.8% women and 8.3% men).</p> <p><b>Kuwait: Negative Cultural Attitudes Deeply Embedded</b><br> According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (2013), the percentage of female parliamentarians was only 6.2% in Kuwait.&nbsp; MasterCard’s survey showed that more than one-fifth of respondents noted that having more women in parliament will help advance their roles in society. As acknowledged by Dr Rola Dashti (PhD in Population Economics, John Hopkins University, USA and first female candidate in Kuwait’s 2006 parliamentary elections), the need to encourage women who are capable to come forward and be engaged in the political process is both crucial and pressing due to “the negative cultural and media attitude towards women in politics”. Dashti also pointed out that ideological differences between conservatives and extremist Islamists have led to the opposition of female participation in politics and discouragement of women from voting for a woman[<a href="#_ftn9">9</a>].</p> <p><b>Egypt: Women’s Presence in Parliament a Scarcity</b><br> Findings from the survey indicate that more female respondents (15.9%) in Egypt believe that more seats in Parliament for women will aid in their advancement, although the belief is shared less widely among their male counterparts (7.8% - the lowest in the region).&nbsp; Although the national assembly had passed a new law mandating the creation of 64 new seats in the parliament house specifically for women in 2009, the outcome of the November 2011 to January 2012 parliamentary election to the People’s Assembly of Egypt was an immense disappointment to women with only a handful of women making up about 1% of the new assembly[<a href="#_ftn10">10</a>]. Data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union indicated that the actual make up of female parliamentarians in 2013 was a startling 2.2%.</p> <p><b>Saudi Arabia: More Women Parliamentarians Going Forward</b><br> Although the survey found that only one in ten respondents in Saudi Arabia viewed having more women parliamentarians as most effective in advancing women’s role in society, King Abdullah’s historical move in January 2013 should bring some changes going forward. In addition to naming 30 women to the kingdom’s Shura Council – an appointed advisory body that cannot enact legislation but is still the closest institution to a parliament in the country, he also amended the Shura Council's law to ensure that women would make up 20% or more of the 150-person council in future[<a href="#_ftn11">11</a>].</p> <p><a name="_ftn7"></a><sup>7</sup>Oman, Lebanon, Nigeria, Kenya, Kuwait and South Africa<br> <a name="_ftn8"></a><sup>8</sup>Actual percentage of female parliamentarians in 2013, Source: Inter-Parliamentary Union<br> <a name="_ftn9"></a><sup>9</sup>“Women in the Arab World Get Organized: In Kuwait, women are breaking down barriers”, The World of Parliaments, Quarterly Review, October 2006, Online: <a href="http://www.ipu.org/news-e/23-4.htm" target="_blank">http://www.ipu.org/news-e/23-4.htm</a><br> <a name="_ftn10"></a><sup>10</sup>&quot;In Egypt’s New Parliament, Women will be Scare&quot;, NPR, Jan 2012, Online: <a href="http://www.npr.org/2012/01/19/145468365/in-egypts-new-parliament-women-will-be-scarce" target="_blank">http://www.npr.org/2012/01/19/145468365/in-egypts-new-parliament-women-will-be-scarce</a><br> <a name="_ftn11"></a><sup>11</sup>&quot;Saudi Arabia's timid flirtation with women's right&quot;, The Atlantic, 16 Jan 2013, Online <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/01/saudi-arabias-timid-flirtation-with-womens-rights/267245/" target="_blank">http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/01/saudi-arabias-timid-flirtation-with-womens-rights/267245/</a></p> 2. Women's Affirmative Action Will Have The Most Effect<p>&nbsp;</p> <p></p> Asia Pacific<p>The opinion that actions that promote opportunities for women will be most effective in advancing women's role in society is shared most strongly among both female and male respondents in Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar.</p> <p>In Indonesia, the proportion of female respondents was 32.4%, the highest in the survey across all countries. There are 2 possible explanations for this. First, according to the MasterCard Index of Women's Advancement (2013), the gender parity gap between Indonesian men and women in terms of employment, capability and leadership was significant – index points were 74.4, 91.7 and 26.4, respectively.</p> <p>Second, in Indonesia, affirmative action programs that exist typically offer natives preference over Han Chinese immigrants – there is a notable lack of women-specific affirmative actions[<a href="#_ftn12">12</a>]. For those action programs that have been introduced, the outcome has not been as effective as initially envisaged.&nbsp; As noted in the article &quot;<i>Can affirmative action increase women's ability to get elected in Indonesia</i>&quot; by Asia Foundation, despite efforts made prior to the 2009 General Elections to increase the proportion of female candidates in political parties to 30%, the 2009 parliament only had 18% women parliamentarians. This has prompted more women's groups to step up their effort to push for more &quot;<i>affirmative action in election laws to ensure a fully effective and representative parliament</i>&quot;[<a href="#_ftn13">13</a>].</p> <p>In contrast, in New Zealand where individuals of Maori or other Polynesian descent are often afforded preferential access to university courses and scholarships, the response from female and male respondents was more subtle. This could be due to the fact that the problem of gender inequality is not as acute in New Zealand, as reflected in the MasterCard Index of Women's Advancement where the index points for employment, capability and leadership were 91.2, 100.0 and 51.6, respectively in 2013.</p> <p><u>Table 4: Breakdown of Respondents' Opinion – Asia/Pacific</u></p> <table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tbody><tr><th class="table-description">Women's affirmative action</th> <th class="table-description">Female (%)</th> <th class="table-description">Male (%)</th> </tr><tr><td><b>Indonesia</b></td> <td>32.4</td> <td>28.2</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Thailand</b></td> <td>29.0</td> <td>29.6</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Myanmar</b></td> <td>25.6</td> <td>26.6</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Hong Kong</b></td> <td>19.6</td> <td>19.8</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Vietnam</b></td> <td>18.5</td> <td>17.1</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Taiwan</b></td> <td>18.0</td> <td>23.3</td> </tr><tr><td><b>China</b></td> <td>17.7</td> <td>20.5</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Japan</b></td> <td>16.7</td> <td>7.6</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Philippines</b></td> <td>14.3</td> <td>12.3</td> </tr><tr><td><b>South Korea</b></td> <td>13.2</td> <td>13.2</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Malaysia</b></td> <td>11.3</td> <td>13.0</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Singapore</b></td> <td>10.6</td> <td>10.4</td> </tr><tr><td><b>Australia</b></td> <td>7.1</td> <td>7.6</td> </tr><tr><td><b>New Zealand</b></td> <td>6.8</td> <td>5.8</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p><i>Source: MasterCard Survey on Advancing Women’s Role in Society (2012H2)</i></p> <p><a name="_ftn12"></a><sup>12</sup>WordiQ.com, Definition of Affirmative Action<br> <a name="_ftn13"></a><sup>13</sup>&quot;Can affirmative action increase women's ability to get elected in Indonesia&quot;, Asia Foundation, 1 Jun 2011, Online <a href="http://asiafoundation.org/in-asia/2011/06/01/can-affirmative-action-increase-womens-ability-to-get-elected-in-indonesia/" target="_blank">http://asiafoundation.org/in-asia/2011/06/01/can-affirmative-action-increase-womens-ability-to-get-elected-in-indonesia/</a></p> Middle East & Africa<p>Within the region, Saudi Arabia and Oman stood out with the highest proportion of respondents agreeing that women’s affirmative action will be most effective in advancing women’s role in society.</p> <p>The high response from respondents in Saudi Arabia may have been triggered by 2 recent</p> <ul> <li>King Abdullah’s move in 2013 to include more women in the Shura Council, and</li> <li>Women from Saudi Arabia were allowed to participate in the Olympic Games for the first time in 2012.</li> </ul> <p><u>Table 5: Breakdown of Respondents’ Opinion – Middle East &amp; Africa</u></p> <table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tbody><tr><th class="table-description">Women’s affirmative action</th> <th class="table-description">Female (%)</th> <th class="table-description">Male (%)</th> </tr><tr><td>Saudi Arabia</td> <td>30.3</td> <td>26.8</td> </tr><tr><td>Oman</td> <td>28.5</td> <td>29.0</td> </tr><tr><td>Egypt</td> <td>20.4</td> <td>22.7</td> </tr><tr><td>Morocco</td> <td>20.1</td> <td>21.6</td> </tr><tr><td>Kuwait</td> <td>18.3</td> <td>15.2</td> </tr><tr><td>United Arab Emirates</td> <td>17.4</td> <td>16.6</td> </tr><tr><td>Qatar</td> <td>16.0</td> <td>19.8</td> </tr><tr><td>Nigeria</td> <td>14.8</td> <td>15.2</td> </tr><tr><td>South Africa</td> <td>12.4</td> <td>13.9</td> </tr><tr><td>Lebanon</td> <td>11.1</td> <td>6.8</td> </tr><tr><td>Kenya</td> <td>10.9</td> <td>12.7</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p><i>Source: MasterCard Survey on Advancing Women’s Role in Society (2012H2)</i></p> <p>It is interesting to note that a significant proportion of female respondents from these 2 countries also chose having more women parliamentarians (29.9%) and SME opportunities (22.3%) as effective ways to advance women in society.</p> 3. More Women On Company Boards Will Have The Most Effect<p>&nbsp;</p> <p></p> Asia/Pacific<p>The opinion that having more women on company boards will have the most impact was most apparent in 3 countries in Asia/Pacific: Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand. In Thailand, more than one-fifth (20.9%) of women and 17.6% of men felt that having a greater representation of women on company boards will help advance women's role in society; followed by Australia (women: 16.1%; men: 15.1%), and New Zealand (women: 14.2%; men: 12.7%).&nbsp;</p> <p><u>Table 6: Breakdown of Respondents' Opinion – Asia/Pacific</u></p> <table border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tbody><tr><th class="table-description">More Women on Company Boards</th> <th class="table-description">Female (%)</th> <th class="table-description">Male (%)</th> </tr><tr><td>Thailand</td> <td>20.9</td> <td>17.6</td> </tr><tr><td>Australia</td> <td>16.1</td> <td>15.1</td> </tr><tr><td>New Zealand</td> <td>14.2</td> <td>12.7</td> </tr><tr><td>Vietnam</td> <td>12.5</td> <td>14.5</td> </tr><tr><td>Malaysia</td> <td>11.4</td> <td>9.4</td> </tr><tr><td>Philippines</td> <td>11.1</td> <td>12.9</td> </tr><tr><td>South Korea</td> <td>11.1</td> <td>8.0</td> </tr><tr><td>China</td> <td>10.7</td> <td>10.3</td> </tr><tr><td>Singapore</td> <td>9.5</td> <td>10.8</td> </tr><tr><td>Japan</td> <td>9.3</td> <td>9.0</td> </tr><tr><td>Taiwan</td> <td>8.9</td> <td>6.5</td> </tr><tr><td>Hong Kong</td> <td>7.7</td> <td>9.3</td> </tr><tr><td>Myanmar</td> <td>7.6</td> <td>7.8</td> </tr><tr><td>Indonesia</td> <td>6.5</td> <td>6.9</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p><i>Source: MasterCard Survey on Advancing Women's Role in Society (2012H2)</i></p> <p>This viewpoint was shared less strongly among respondents of both genders in Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Myanmar and Indonesia.&nbsp; MasterCard's survey findings also revealed that this was the case among both developed countries such as Japan and Hong Kong, and less developed countries such as Myanmar and Indonesia.</p> <p><b>Japan: Gender Stereotyping Common; Women Less Ambitious</b><br> According to McKinsey &amp; Company[<a href="#_ftn14">14</a>], deep-rooted traditional thinking that women should remain at home after marriage is relatively deeply rooted in the Japanese society, with around 60% of married women quitting or changing their jobs. Women themselves were found to express lower levels of ambition to attain executive positions. Not surprisingly, Japan has one of the lowest levels of female representation on boards and executive committees in Asia.&nbsp; Similar findings were prevalent among Korean women</p> <p><a name="_ftn14"></a><sup>14</sup>McKinsey &amp; Company, &quot;Women Matter: An Asian Perspective&quot;, 2012, p.10, Online <a href="http://www.leadershipforwomen.com.au/images/docs/2012-McKInsey-Women-Matter-An-Asian-Perspective.pdf" target="_blank">http://www.leadershipforwomen.com.au/images/docs/2012-McKInsey-Women-Matter-An-Asian-Perspective.pdf</a></p> Middle East & Africa<p>Within the Middle Eastern and African region, Egypt and Lebanon were the top two countries with the highest percentage of female and male respondents sharing the view that having more women on company boards will contribute towards advancing women’s role in society.&nbsp; In Lebanon, nearly one-fifth (19.7%) of male respondents supported having more women on board, the highest percentage among both genders across all countries in the region. In the UAE, a notably higher percentage of male respondents (17.9%) shared this viewpoint, compared to only 12.4% of women respondents.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><u>Table 7: Breakdown of Respondents’ Opinion – Middle East &amp; Africa</u></p> <table border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tbody><tr><th class="table-description">More Women on Company Boards</th> <th class="table-description">Female (%)</th> <th class="table-description">Male (%)</th> </tr><tr><td>Egypt</td> <td>18.4</td> <td>15.9</td> </tr><tr><td>Lebanon</td> <td>18.2</td> <td>19.7</td> </tr><tr><td>Morocco</td> <td>15.8</td> <td>13.8</td> </tr><tr><td>Kuwait</td> <td>15.4</td> <td>13.9</td> </tr><tr><td>Qatar</td> <td>15.0</td> <td>13.2</td> </tr><tr><td>South Africa</td> <td>14.5</td> <td>14.2</td> </tr><tr><td>Saudi Arabia</td> <td>12.7</td> <td>9.2</td> </tr><tr><td>United Arab Emirates</td> <td>12.4</td> <td>17.9</td> </tr><tr><td>Oman</td> <td>11.6</td> <td>14.2</td> </tr><tr><td>Kenya</td> <td>9.4</td> <td>8.0</td> </tr><tr><td>Nigeria</td> <td>9.1</td> <td>9.9</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p><i>Source: MasterCard Survey on Advancing Women's Role in Society (2012H2)</i></p> <p></p> <p>According to research conducted by the Pearl Initiative, a body established to promote transparency and accountability to companies in the Gulf, female representation on the board of listed companies was only 1.5%[<a href="#_ftn15">15</a>]. This is consistent with the MasterCard Index of Women’s Advancement whereby it was found that the proportion of women in business leadership positions within the Gulf and African region is generally low.</p> <p><a name="_ftn15"></a><sup>15</sup>Gulf leads way with women on boards&quot;, Research by The Pearl Initiative, 2012, Online <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/dubai/9748971/Gulf-leads-way-with-women-on-boards.html" target="_blank">http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/dubai/9748971/Gulf-leads-way-with-women-on-boards.html</a></p> 4. More Women SME Business Opportunities Will Have The Most Effect <p>&nbsp;</p> <p></p> Asia/Pacific<p><b>Survey Finds Female Taiwanese Respondents Most Fervent in their Belief</b><br> Within the region, a significant percentage of Taiwanese women (22.1%) felt that more women SME business opportunities will help advance women’s role in society, compared to Taiwanese men at (16.5%). This observation may be attributed to the emergence of a more open society and the development of a knowledge economy in Taiwan, whereby women are accounting for an increasingly large percentage of entrepreneurs and actively pursuing economic autonomy. A decade ago, around 38% of all new enterprises established had a woman as the “responsible person” (chairperson or business owner), surpassing all countries in the world[<a href="#_ftn16">16</a>].&nbsp; Today, the figure is still high at 35% (444,805 out of the total of 1,255,619 enterprises), of which 86% of women are in the service sector. According to statistics released in 2009 by the Entrepreneurial Consulting Service Center, women who are seeking to start their own businesses are getting younger, with around 40% aged between 25 and 34 years <a href="#_ftn17">17</a>].&nbsp;</p> <p><u>Table 8: Breakdown of Respondents' Opinion – Asia/Pacific</u></p> <table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tbody><tr><th class="table-description">More Women SME Business Opportunities</th> <th class="table-description">Female (%)</th> <th class="table-description">Male (%)</th> </tr><tr><td>Taiwan</td> <td>22.1</td> <td>16.5</td> </tr><tr><td>Malaysia</td> <td>19.7</td> <td>19.3</td> </tr><tr><td>Indonesia</td> <td>19.5</td> <td>18.5</td> </tr><tr><td>China</td> <td>19.4</td> <td>15.3</td> </tr><tr><td>Vietnam</td> <td>16.2</td> <td>17.2</td> </tr><tr><td>Philippines</td> <td>15.9</td> <td>13.7</td> </tr><tr><td>Hong Kong</td> <td>14.8</td> <td>12.9</td> </tr><tr><td>Japan</td> <td>10.2</td> <td>8.5</td> </tr><tr><td>Singapore</td> <td>10.0</td> <td>6.7</td> </tr><tr><td>Thailand</td> <td>9.2</td> <td>6.1</td> </tr><tr><td>Myanmar</td> <td>9.0</td> <td>10.3</td> </tr><tr><td>New Zealand</td> <td>8.3</td> <td>10.1</td> </tr><tr><td>South Korea</td> <td>6.9</td> <td>9.4</td> </tr><tr><td>Australia</td> <td>6.5</td> <td>8.0</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p><i>Source: MasterCard Survey on Advancing Women's Role in Society (2012H2)</i></p> <p>The survey also found that female respondents in developing countries such Indonesia, China, Vietnam and Philippines agreed that granting more SME business opportunities to women will help advance their progress. This may be due to their desire to create more wealth and to be more financially independent. In contrast, this viewpoint is not shared as widely among male and female respondents in some of the developed countries: New Zealand, South Korea and Australia.</p> <p><a name="_ftn16"></a><sup>16</sup>&quot;Women’s Entrepreneurial Activity&quot;, White paper on SMEs in Taiwan, 2004, Online <a href="http://www.moeasmea.gov.tw/public/Attachment/651614564071.pdf" target="_blank">http://www.moeasmea.gov.tw/public/Attachment/651614564071.pdf</a><br> <a name="_ftn17"></a><sup>17</sup>2009 White Paper on Chinese Taipei, Quoted in article by APEC &quot;Chinese Taipei: Policies and Achievements of Women Entrepreneurship&quot;, Online <a href="http://www.women.apec.org/chinese_taipei.php" target="_blank">http://www.women.apec.org/chinese_taipei.php</a></p> Middle East & Africa<p>The survey findings revealed that a relatively large percentage of both female and male respondents in the Middle East and Africa felt that increasing SME business opportunities for women will be most effective in advancing their role in society. This was particularly apparent in Saudi Arabia, Morocco, UAE, Nigeria, Kenya, Lebanon, and Kuwait, and less pronounced in Egypt, South Africa, Oman and Qatar. In Saudi Arabia and Morocco, more than one-fifth of female respondents (Saudi Arabia: 22.3%; Morocco: 20.7%) agreed that granting more women SME business opportunities will be most effective. Their male counterparts (Saudi Arabia: 19.3%; Morocco: 19.6%) also shared the same viewpoint quite enthusiastically.</p> <p><u>Table 9: Breakdown of Respondents' Opinion – Middle East &amp; Africa</u></p> <table border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tbody><tr><th class="table-description">More Women SME Business Opportunities</th> <th class="table-description">Female (%)</th> <th class="table-description">Male (%)</th> </tr><tr><td>Saudi Arabia</td> <td>22.3</td> <td>19.3</td> </tr><tr><td>Morocco</td> <td>20.7</td> <td>19.6</td> </tr><tr><td>United Arab Emirates</td> <td>18.6</td> <td>17.8</td> </tr><tr><td>Nigeria</td> <td>18.4</td> <td>19.6</td> </tr><tr><td>Kenya</td> <td>17.9</td> <td>16.5</td> </tr><tr><td>Lebanon</td> <td>17.7</td> <td>18.4</td> </tr><tr><td>Kuwait</td> <td>16.7</td> <td>20.1</td> </tr><tr><td>Egypt</td> <td>12.7</td> <td>6.6</td> </tr><tr><td>South Africa</td> <td>12.1</td> <td>13.2</td> </tr><tr><td>Oman</td> <td>10.2</td> <td>10.4</td> </tr><tr><td>Qatar</td> <td>9.9</td> <td>12.8</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p><i>Source: MasterCard Survey on Advancing Women's Role in Society (2012H2)</i></p> <p><b>UAE Women as SME Owners: Some Progress Made<br> </b>Spurred by pro-women legislation in business startup and management, women in the UAE are making commendable progress as owners of SMEs and heavy-weight companies in the economy and market[<a href="#_ftn18">18</a>]. According to the World Bank’s annual Ease of Doing Business survey, the UAE's ranking improved significantly from 46th in 2012 to 22nd in 2013, and 1st within the Arab world[<a href="#_ftn19">19</a>]. The latest report published by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) found 80% of Emirati women to be ‘nascent entrepreneurs' and given the right intervention and support such as education, mentorship and capital access, they are natural entrepreneurs[<a href="#_ftn18">18</a>].</p> <p><a name="_ftn18"></a><sup>18</sup>&quot;UAE woman is making substantial strides in business sector&quot;, The Khaleej Times, 25 Feb 2013, Online <a href="http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2013/February/uaebusiness_February458.xml&amp;section=uaebusiness" target="_blank">http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2013/February/uaebusiness_February458.xml§ion=uaebusiness</a><br> <a name="_ftn19"></a><sup>19</sup>&quot;More women starting businesses in the UAE&quot;, Small Business Opportunities, 22 Mar 2013, Online <a href="http://www.sbomag.com/2013/03/more-women-starting-businesses-in-the-uae/" target="_blank">http://www.sbomag.com/2013/03/more-women-starting-businesses-in-the-uae/</a></p> 5. Domestic Care Help Will Be Most Effective<p>&nbsp;</p> <p></p> Asia/Pacific<p>MasterCard’s survey found that respondents from developed countries in Asia/Pacific such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong felt most strongly about having domestic care assistance, as compared to those in emerging countries such as Myanmar and Vietnam. In fact, the survey found that the responses from male respondents are higher (e.g. 18.0% male vs. 13.4% female). This may be due to the fact that the supply of local domestic helpers is low in developed countries, and families who need a helper often have to resort to hiring one from overseas, despite the high costs involved. For instance, in Japan, working mothers with young infants/toddlers who cannot afford to lose their jobs are often left with 2 alternatives: (i) find a nanny/caretaker for their child - a very costly option, or (ii) leave their child in child care facilities – which is much more affordable<a href="#_ftn20">20</a>].</p> <p>Conversely, in countries such as China, Philippines and Indonesia where the supply of local helpers/maids is much higher and the cost of hiring is significantly more affordable, the responses were much lower.</p> <p><u>Table 10: Breakdown of Respondents’ Opinion – Asia/Pacific</u></p> <table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tbody><tr><th class="table-description">Domestic Care Help</th> <th class="table-description">Female (%)</th> <th class="table-description">Male (%)</th> </tr><tr><td>Japan</td> <td>15.7</td> <td>20.5</td> </tr><tr><td>South Korea</td> <td>13.4</td> <td>18.0</td> </tr><tr><td>Myanmar</td> <td>13.0</td> <td>15.8</td> </tr><tr><td>Vietnam</td> <td>12.0</td> <td>11.6</td> </tr><tr><td>Singapore</td> <td>11.8</td> <td>14.2</td> </tr><tr><td>Hong Kong</td> <td>11.2</td> <td>8.4</td> </tr><tr><td>Australia</td> <td>10.0</td> <td>10.7</td> </tr><tr><td>Taiwan</td> <td>9.2</td> <td>8.7</td> </tr><tr><td>New Zealand</td> <td>8.7</td> <td>11.3</td> </tr><tr><td>Thailand</td> <td>8.7</td> <td>7.7</td> </tr><tr><td>Malaysia</td> <td>8.1</td> <td>11.8</td> </tr><tr><td>China</td> <td>6.1</td> <td>7.3</td> </tr><tr><td>Philippines</td> <td>5.0</td> <td>6.5</td> </tr><tr><td>Indonesia</td> <td>4.0</td> <td>3.7</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p><i>Source: MasterCard Survey on Advancing Women's Role in Society (2012H2)</i></p> <p><a name="_ftn20"></a><sup>20</sup>Working women in Japan face day care deficit&quot;, Business 360, 28 Apr 2010, Online <a href="http://business.blogs.cnn.com/2010/04/28/working-women-in-japan-face-day-care-deficit/" target="_blank">http://business.blogs.cnn.com/2010/04/28/working-women-in-japan-face-day-care-deficit/</a></p> Middle East & Africa<p>MasterCard's survey found that respondents in the oil-rich economy of Qatar felt most strongly towards domestic care assistance (female: 15.9%; male: 10.8%). This may be due to the fact that getting a domestic helper/maid locally in Qatar is difficult, and most have to resort to sponsoring and hiring one from overseas, typically from India, Indonesia or the Philippines and through an agency.&nbsp;</p> <p><u>Table 11: Breakdown of Respondents’ Opinion – Middle East &amp; Africa</u></p> <table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tbody><tr><th class="table-description">Domestic Care Help</th> <th class="table-description">Female (%)</th> <th class="table-description">Male (%)</th> </tr><tr><td>Qatar</td> <td>15.9</td> <td>10.8</td> </tr><tr><td>Kenya</td> <td>13.4</td> <td>13.7</td> </tr><tr><td>Morocco</td> <td>11.2</td> <td>13.9</td> </tr><tr><td>South Africa</td> <td>10.0</td> <td>8.6</td> </tr><tr><td>United Arab Emirates</td> <td>9.9</td> <td>11.7</td> </tr><tr><td>Saudi Arabia</td> <td>8.0</td> <td>14.3</td> </tr><tr><td>Nigeria</td> <td>7.9</td> <td>7.4</td> </tr><tr><td>Oman</td> <td>7.9</td> <td>6.6</td> </tr><tr><td>Kuwait</td> <td>7.0</td> <td>8.6</td> </tr><tr><td>Lebanon</td> <td>6.2</td> <td>6.8</td> </tr><tr><td>Egypt</td> <td>6.1</td> <td>10.2</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p><i>Source: MasterCard Survey on Advancing Women's Role in Society (2012H2)</i></p> 6. Better Maternal/Paternal Leave Entitlement<p>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p></p> Asia/Pacific<p>MasterCard’s survey findings found that a significant proportion of female and male respondents in Japan, South Korea and New Zealand felt that better maternal/paternal leave entitlement will be the most effective towards advancing women’s role in society.&nbsp;</p> <p>This may be due to 4 factors:</p> <ul> <li>the workforce participation among women in developed countries is generally high[<a href="#_ftn21">21</a>] – Japan (49%), South Korea (49%), New Zealand (62%), Australia (59%)[<a href="#_ftn22">22</a>], Singapore (57%) and Hong Kong (51%), and therefore there is a need to hire someone to assist with housework or take care of infants/young children/elderly in the house;</li> <li>it is not uncommon for both parents to be working and thus the need/desire to have domestic help is more pronounced;</li> <li>hiring nannies/caretakers is difficult due to the lack of supply locally; and</li> <li>the time available to spend with a newborn is limited due to the company’s&nbsp; maternity/paternity leave allowances, and therefore both parents desire more time and benefits.</li> </ul> <p><u>Table 12: Breakdown of Respondents’ Opinion – Asia/Pacific</u></p> <table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tbody><tr><th class="table-description">Better Maternal/Paternal Leave Entitlement</th> <th class="table-description">Female (%)</th> <th class="table-description">Male (%)</th> </tr><tr><td>Japan</td> <td>24.7</td> <td>23.8</td> </tr><tr><td>South Korea</td> <td>23.3</td> <td>22.6</td> </tr><tr><td>New Zealand</td> <td>22.4</td> <td>16.4</td> </tr><tr><td>Australia</td> <td>16.7</td> <td>16.6</td> </tr><tr><td>Singapore</td> <td>13.7</td> <td>15.9</td> </tr><tr><td>Hong Kong</td> <td>13.2</td> <td>15.0</td> </tr><tr><td>Taiwan</td> <td>11.5</td> <td>12.5</td> </tr><tr><td>Malaysia</td> <td>10.9</td> <td>10.7</td> </tr><tr><td>Vietnam</td> <td>10.6</td> <td>9.4</td> </tr><tr><td>China</td> <td>9.0</td> <td>6.8</td> </tr><tr><td>Indonesia</td> <td>7.5</td> <td>7.2</td> </tr><tr><td>Philippines</td> <td>6.5</td> <td>5.5</td> </tr><tr><td>Thailand</td> <td>5.9</td> <td>6.9</td> </tr><tr><td>Myanmar</td> <td>4.3</td> <td>4.4</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p><i>Source: MasterCard Survey on Advancing Women’'s Role in Society (2012H2)</i></p> <p><a name="_ftn21"></a><sup>21</sup>Labour Participation rate, female (% of female population ages 15+), World Bank, Online <a href="http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.TLF.CACT.FE.ZS/countries" target="_blank">http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.TLF.CACT.FE.ZS/countries</a><br> <a name="_ftn22"></a><sup>22</sup>Women Participation in Labour Force August 2011, Australia Bureau of Statistics, <a href="http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/1301.0Main+Features452012" target="_blank">http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/1301.0Main+Features452012</a></p> Middle East & Africa<p>The survey found that the percentage of respondents in this region who felt that better maternal/paternal leave benefits will contribute towards promoting women’s role in society is much less compared to that in Asia/Pacific and to a lesser extent, South Asia.&nbsp;</p> <p>This may be due to the fact that most women in this region do not work, as is reflected in the strikingly low female labor force participation rates: Saudi Arabia (18%), Morocco (26%), Oman (28%), Lebanon (23%), Kuwait (43%), Egypt (24%), UAE (44%), and South Africa (44%)[<a href="#_ftn23">23</a>].</p> <p><u>Table 13: Breakdown of Respondents’ Opinion – Middle East &amp; Africa</u></p> <table border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tbody><tr><th class="table-description">Better Maternal/Paternal Leave Entitlement</th> <th class="table-description">Female (%)</th> <th class="table-description">Male (%)</th> </tr><tr><td>Qatar</td> <td>11.2</td> <td>9.0</td> </tr><tr><td>Kenya</td> <td>8.7</td> <td>8.3</td> </tr><tr><td>South Africa</td> <td>7.6</td> <td>8.0</td> </tr><tr><td>United Arab Emirates</td> <td>7.5</td> <td>7.3</td> </tr><tr><td>Nigeria</td> <td>6.7</td> <td>6.9</td> </tr><tr><td>Egypt</td> <td>6.6</td> <td>9.4</td> </tr><tr><td>Kuwait</td> <td>5.0</td> <td>6.2</td> </tr><tr><td>Lebanon</td> <td>4.5</td> <td>4.8</td> </tr><tr><td>Oman</td> <td>4.1</td> <td>4.1</td> </tr><tr><td>Morocco</td> <td>4.0</td> <td>4.7</td> </tr><tr><td>Saudi Arabia</td> <td>3.8</td> <td>6.8</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p><i>Source: MasterCard Survey on Advancing Women's Role in Society (2012H2)</i></p> <p><a name="_ftn23"></a><sup>23</sup> Findings from the Mastercard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement 2013</p> 7. More Companies Stepping Up With Women's Improvement Programs<p>&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p></p> Asia/Pacific<p>Within the region, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia had the highest percentage of respondents who felt that having more companies increase women’s improvement programs will be most effective towards advancing women’s role in society.&nbsp; In contrast, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam ranked the lowest. According to McKinsey &amp; Company’s study, gender diversity is not yet a widely recognized issue in Indonesia, with 77% of companies saying that it is not on their strategic agendas, compared to Asia’s average of 70%.&nbsp;</p> <p>In Australia where companies are more pro-active in their effort to promote women such as by raising their ambitions and profiles, the responses were also higher: female (12.4%) and male (9.7%). Over the past few years, the Australian government and business sector have initiated measures to increase the level of female representation on boards and executive committees[<a href="#_ftn24">24</a>].</p> <p><u>Table 14: Breakdown of Respondents’ Opinion – Asia/Pacific</u></p> <table border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tbody><tr><th class="table-description">More Companies Stepping Up with Women's<br> Improvement Programs</th> <th class="table-description">Female (%)</th> <th class="table-description">Male (%)</th> </tr><tr><td>South Korea</td> <td>17.3</td> <td>12.7</td> </tr><tr><td>Singapore</td> <td>16.0</td> <td>11.7</td> </tr><tr><td>Malaysia</td> <td>14.2</td> <td>11.4</td> </tr><tr><td>Taiwan</td> <td>13.0</td> <td>9.3</td> </tr><tr><td>Australia</td> <td>12.4</td> <td>9.7</td> </tr><tr><td>China</td> <td>11.9</td> <td>8.0</td> </tr><tr><td>Philippines</td> <td>10.2</td> <td>9.9</td> </tr><tr><td>New Zealand</td> <td>9.8</td> <td>9.1</td> </tr><tr><td>Japan</td> <td>8.6</td> <td>9.5</td> </tr><tr><td>Hong Kong</td> <td>8.0</td> <td>8.3</td> </tr><tr><td>Indonesia</td> <td>7.1</td> <td>10.2</td> </tr><tr><td>Myanmar</td> <td>6.2</td> <td>10.7</td> </tr><tr><td>Thailand</td> <td>6.2</td> <td>3.0</td> </tr><tr><td>Vietnam</td> <td>4.7</td> <td>7.1</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p><i>Source: MasterCard Survey on Advancing Women's Role in Society (2012H2)</i></p> <p><a name="_ftn24"></a><sup>24</sup> McKinsey &amp; Company, “Women Matter: An Asian Perspective”, 2012, p.11, Online <a href="http://www.leadershipforwomen.com.au/images/docs/2012-McKInsey-Women-Matter-An-Asian-Perspective.pdf" target="_blank">http://www.leadershipforwomen.com.au/images/docs/2012-McKInsey-Women-Matter-An-Asian-Perspective.pdf</a></p> Conclusion<p>The 2012H2 MasterCard Survey on Advancing Women’s Role in Society has revealed some interesting findings and trends that are worthy of note. One key observation is that it is increasingly being acknowledged by both women and men (and in some instances, more men than women) that women’s role in society can be promoted, and this may be best achieved through specific methods – the most effective being having more women in parliament, instigating more women’s affirmative actions, granting more SME opportunities for women, and extending maternal/paternal childcare entitlements.</p> <p>The survey brought to light that although it is widely conceded that women’s advancement may be accelerated by extending more opportunities and benefits to women in politics, at work, or at home, the barriers that limit this progress remain largely pervasive in all countries. In most instances, these barriers are attributed to: (i) negative cultural attitudes and widely-held religious beliefs that are deeply embedded; (ii) restrictive traditions and work practices; and (iii) lack of resources such as finances or manpower. For instance, in Japan and Korea, studies have shown that women themselves expressed lower levels of ambition and drive to attain executive positions, and given society’s acceptance that this attitude is ubiquitous, it is not surprising that the survey found only a small cohort of respondents in these countries expressing that having more women on company boards will bear any positive influence in advancing women’s role in society.</p> <p>In contrast, an open society such as that in Taiwan where women are accounting for an increasingly large percentage of entrepreneurs and actively pursuing economic autonomy, the survey found a significant percentage of female respondents (22.1%) concurring that granting more women SME business opportunities will help promote their role in society. In the UAE, the rising trend of pro-women legislation in business startup and management has helped women make commendable progress as SME owners, and this is acknowledged in the survey findings with 18.6% females and 17.8% males agreeing that women SME opportunities will help them advance in society.</p> <p>The survey also suggested that society’s acknowledgement of women’s contribution and progress (past or present) may have some bearing on what society wants for women in the future. For instance, in the Philippines where the female constitution in parliament is high (22%), a significant proportion of respondents (21% females and 24% males) noted that having even more seats in parliament for women will help to advance their role in society.&nbsp; This could be due to the society’s acknowledgement that women parliamentarians have done or are doing a good job, and society wants women to continue progressing on this pathway.&nbsp;</p> <p></p> About the Author<p>Alexis Chong is a consultant who specializes in providing business and research reporting and analytical services to clients in Asia/Pacific. Her main focus is on assisting clients in analyzing, preparing and documenting research proposals, business and investment recommendations, project tendering, and feasibility studies spanning various sectors including financial services, information technology and communication, software testing, and logistics. Alexis holds a B.A. in Electronic Commerce &amp; Marketing and a M.A. in Electronic Commerce from Curtin University, Western Australia.</p> The latest MasterCard Survey on Advancing Women's Role in Society (2012H2) was conducted across 27 markets in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. The main objective of the survey was to seek respondents' opinion on what would have the most impact on advancing women's role in society.http://www1.mastercard.com/content/intelligence/en/research/reports/2013/supplementary-findings--mastercard-survey-on-advancing-women-s-r2013-09-01T16:00:00.000Z2013-09-01T16:00:00.000ZMasterCard Index of Well-Being for Women 2014 Introduction<p>The MasterCard Index of Well-Being for Women is a new index based on a survey comprising 16 Asia/Pacific markets that will be conducted bi-annually. Launched in January 2014, the Index aims to provide an in-depth measure of the level of well-being among nations in Asia/Pacific by examining the impact of wide-ranging factors such as work-life balance, cybercrime and disease outbreak on female respondents. Overall, the research reflects their attitudes toward five categories: &quot;Work and Finances,&quot; &quot;Safety from Threats,&quot; &quot;Personal and Work Satisfaction,&quot; &quot;Personal Well-Being&quot; and &quot;Sense of Empowerment.&quot;</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart1-MR.jpg"><img width="461" height="321" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart1-MR.jpg"></a></p> Regional Overview<p>The spread of the overall Women's Well-Being Index values across the 16 Asia/Pacific markets shows all of them above the neutral (50 point) mark with Myanmar (70.9) and Indonesia (70.0) taking the leading positions and Japan (53.6) and South Korea (54.9) at the lowest spectrum, against the regional average of 62.7. There is marked inter-market divergence between the seven Developed Markets (average of 58.8) and the nine Emerging Markets (average of 65.7), as well as intra-market divergences within the Emerging-Developed Markets brackets. The charts below illustrate this difference.</p> <p>The Developed Markets chart below reveal that with the exception of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia are above the Developed Market average of 58.8. With an overall Well-Being Index score of 66.5, Hong Kong has a clear lead compared to the other six countries in the Developed Market region, while Japan (53.6) has the lowest score.</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart2-MR.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="458" height="319" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart2-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p>Among the Emerging Markets illustrated below, Malaysia (58.0) and Bangladesh (55.3) are the only two markets with scores below the Emerging Market average of 65.7. Myanmar (70.9) and Indonesia (70.0) have the highest and healthiest overall Well-Being Index scores; followed by the Philippines and India at 69.2 and 69.1, respectively.</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart3-MR.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="454" height="316" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart3-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p>Prima facie, the Developed-Emerging Market dichotomy seems to suggest that a higher standard of living may not necessarily translate to a higher sense of well-being due the interplay of other factors and influences such as cultural and psychological. In the following sections, we will examine the component breakdown to discover key elements of divergence between the Developed and Emerging Markets.</p> Regional Component Breakdown<p>At the component level, Developed Asia/Pacific has a higher score in only one component, and it is barely higher at that (Safety from Threats, 57.0 versus 55.1 for Emerging Markets). The components of &quot;Work and Finances,&quot; &quot;Satisfaction&quot; and &quot;Personal Well-Being&quot; stand out the most in terms of differential between the Developed and Emerging Markets of Asia/Pacific.</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart4-MR.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="416" height="289" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart4-MR.jpg"></a></p> "Works and Finances"<p>At the &quot;Work and Finances&quot; component level, Emerging Markets are clearly more optimistic about the six months looking ahead and prospective sub-components of &quot;Regular Income&quot; and &quot;Employment&quot; than the Developed Markets which are evidently dismal at least for this survey wave (scores of 82.9 for Emerging versus 56.5 for developed). With a score of 42.3, it is evident that the majority of women in Developed Markets do not expect their income levels to increase over the next six months. In comparison, the score for women in the Emerging Markets is much stronger at 74.3, reflecting a high level of optimism with regards to income levels. This is scarcely balanced out by the &quot;Keeping up with Bills&quot; and &quot;Saving for Big Purchases&quot; sub-components which the Developed Markets are more in control of -- most likely due to greater affordability offered through higher income levels for dealing with big ticket consumption and day to day budgeting.</p> <p>Another reason for the large variance between the Developed-Emerging Markets may be due to &quot;Regular Income&quot; and &quot;Employment&quot; being more aligned to economic growth prospects -- an aspect over which Emerging Markets have a clear advantage (using the October 2013 IMF WEO forecasts of GDP per Capita between 2014 and 2018, the seven Developed Markets have an average compound annual average real growth rate of 3.2% while that of the nine Emerging Markets is much higher at 5.1%).</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart5-MR.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="416" height="282" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart5-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><b>Work and Finances: Gender Comparison</b></p> <p>The results for male respondents in relation to &quot;Work and Finances&quot; are quite similar to the scores for the female cohort with men in Developed Markets expressing more control over bill payments (77.3) and saving for big purchases (62.8). The outlook on employment prospects among men in developed countries is poor (50.6), but still less pessimistic than their female counterparts (42.3). In terms of &quot;Saving for Big Purchases,&quot; women in both Developed and Emerging Markets show slightly higher control than men.</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart6-MR.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="415" height="289" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart6-MR.jpg"></a></p> "Safety from Threats"<p>With the exception of &quot;Cyber Crime&quot; and &quot;Natural Disaster/Pollution,&quot; it is surprising that the Developed Markets do not have a markedly higher overall score (57.0) relative to Emerging Markets (55.1). In fact, the survey revealed that the score for Developed Markets in &quot;Disease Outbreak&quot; was only marginally higher than that for Emerging Markets (61.6 versus 60.1). For the sub-components of &quot;Violent Crime&quot; and &quot;Financial Crime,&quot; the scores were noticeably higher in the Developed Markets (59.2 and 57.4) than in the Emerging Markets (52.2 and 50.0). It is also apparent that the perception of safety from threats of violent and financial crimes by female respondents in Emerging Markets is a major concern.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart7-MR.jpg"><img width="415" height="290" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart7-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p>Table 1 shows the World Bank's Governance 2012 Indicator &quot;Rule of Law&quot;<sup><a href="#ft1">1</a></sup> for each of the countries with their regional averages at the bottom. The original scores have been indexed to 100 with 100 indicating the best possible rule of law and 0, total anarchy. The prevalence and enforcement of the rule of law should directly impact upon all the four sub-indicators (even natural disasters in terms of amelioration of their effects via effective preparation and responsiveness).</p> <p>Given the wide gap between the market averages for &quot;Rule of Law&quot; (92.4 for Developed Markets versus 56.5 for Emerging Markets), one would expect this gap to be evident in the &quot;Safety from Threats&quot; component which is not apparent. One can only hypothesize that the interplay of a degree of human adaptive expectation may be prevalent here. For example, a historically low crime rate in a Developed Market breeds a baseline mindset of low crime expectations or that crime rates should be low. As such, exposure to crime through the media or by word of mouth may instigate a negativity bias perceiving crime rates to be on the rise or getting much worse than they really are, in turn generating a feeling of being more vulnerable to crime than is warranted.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Table1-MR.jpg"><img width="415" height="273" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Table1-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p>In an Emerging Market however, where crime rates are actually higher than that in a Developed Market on average, expectation of crime is already high and socially internalized such that the same negative reports via the media or word of mouth do not impart as much negative bias towards vulnerability to threat as they would in a Developed Market. In other words if one accepts that crime rates are high and there is nothing to be done about it (owing to weak &quot;Rule of Law&quot;), then one would take whatever precautions necessary to avoid becoming a victim of crime and move on with life. What would impact such a person’s sense of vulnerability to crime upwards or downwards is a relative change in crime rates (and its reporting); that is, if crime rates are to spike or decrease outside the bounds of normalcy.</p> <p>In a Developed Market where the expectation of crime rates is less, vulnerability to crime is more likely to increase as perception of it via reports increases. However, this is less likely to decrease from reports of the reverse (a decrease in crime rates) as one expects that crimes should have been low in the first place. Another way to see this is that a reported decrease in crime is interpreted as an improvement from the norm in Emerging Markets but only a return to normalcy in a Developed Market. This may go some way to explaining why the &quot;Safety from Threats&quot; gap between the Developed and Emerging Markets is much narrower than that revealed in the World Bank's &quot;Rule of Law&quot; gap.</p> <p><b>Safety from Threats: Gender Comparison</b></p> <p>A gender comparison of the perception of safety from threats between male and female respondents in the Developed and Emerging Markets reveals an interesting observation. While one would expect the male cohort in either markets to score higher given that females both young and old, will generally have greater fear of crimes and threats than men due to various factors such as vulnerability to aggressions and concern for their children (which fuels their fear); however, this is not the case. The results show that in both markets, the perception of safety from threats among male and female respondents is remarkably similar, effectively dispelling any misconception that males have a higher perception of safety from threats (and thus a higher score) than their female counterparts in either Developed or Emerging Markets.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart8-MR.jpg"><img width="419" height="179" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart8-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p>For the male counterpart, the sub-components of &quot;Violent Crime&quot; (62.3) and &quot;Financial Crime&quot; (60.8) as illustrated in the chart below are notably higher than the female respondents in the Developed Markets as compared to that in the Emerging Markets (54.7 and 53.2, respectively), while the gaps for the other sub-components of &quot;Cyber Crime,&quot; &quot;Disease Outbreak&quot; and &quot;Natural Disaster/Pollution&quot; are less pronounced.</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart9-MR.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="421" height="202" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart9-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><i><a name="ft1"></a>1. Reflects perceptions of the extent to which agents have confidence in and abide by the rules of society, and in particular the quality of contract enforcement, property rights, the police, and the courts, as well as the likelihood of crime and violence.</i></p> "Satisfaction"<p>The &quot;Satisfaction&quot; component shows a wide gap between the Developed and Emerging Markets in favor of the latter (59.0 versus 69.9 respectively), implying that women in developed countries are not necessarily more satisfied with their lives as compared to women living in less-developed countries. The results also show that each of the sub-components exhibits an apparent gap between the two regional markets but it is widest at the &quot;Present Life Situation&quot; and &quot;5 year Life Situation&quot; sub-components. The analysis of the &quot;5 year Life Situation&quot; sub-component is one of future optimism and may be related to the economic growth prospects of which the Emerging Markets have the clear advantage (refer to earlier discussion on &quot;Work and Finance&quot;). The gap between the markets for &quot;Present Life Situation&quot; shows that a higher standard of living (higher GDP per capita and all that that entails) may not necessarily translate to a higher regard of one's present circumstance as has been suggested earlier.</p> <p>Female respondents in the Emerging Markets are highly optimistic about their life situation prospects in the next five years (76.1), even more so than their regard of present life situation (66.5). However, women in Developed Markets perceive their &quot;Present Life Situation&quot; to be barely adequate (55.1). The results also show that females in Emerging Markets have higher satisfaction levels in terms of their &quot;Work/Role in Life Situation&quot; and &quot;Work-Life Balance&quot; (68.8 and 68.0) than those in the Developed Markets (57.6 for work and life and 60.2 for satisfaction in work/role).<br> </p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart10-MR.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="420" height="293" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart10-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><b>Satisfaction in Life: Gender Comparison</b></p> <p>The chart below shows the results of &quot;Satisfaction&quot; in life for the male respondents. The overall score for men is slightly higher than their female counterparts in Emerging Markets (71.4 male versus 69.9 for females) while in the Developed Markets, females scored marginally higher (59.0 versus 58.5 for males). In terms of the outlook for life in the next five years, male respondents were very optimistic (76.8 compared to 76.1 for females). Men in Developed Markets also exhibit low levels of satisfaction in terms of their perception of &quot;Present Life Situation&quot; (54.1)</p> <p>Men in Emerging Markets have higher satisfaction levels in terms of their Work/Role in Life Situation and Work-Life Balance (71.0 and 69.8) than females. Similar to their female counterparts in the Developed Markets, men are also significantly challenged in striking a balance between work and life (58.1) and in their Work/Role in Life Satisfaction (59.8).<br> </p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart11-MR.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="421" height="332" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart11-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p>Richard Easterlin, a professor of economics at the University of Southern California, has posited that aspirations move up together with incomes and overtime, higher aspirations negate the effect of higher incomes.<sup><a href="#ft2">2</a></sup> Plotting &quot;Present Life Situation&quot; scores for women against 2013 GDP per Capita in PPP$ (IMF WEO) as shown in the chart below highlights that there is some consistency with Easterlin's hypothesis. If satisfaction (i.e. happiness) increased with income, then the path of the dots should be largely aligned with the slope of the red line; but they do not. On a regional basis, the Emerging Markets are clearly sloping downwards which seems to suggest that as income levels rise, Present Life Satisfaction as perceived by women decreases. At the Developed Market level however, countries (with the exception of Japan) display a weakly positive relationship between Present Life Satisfaction and average income. Both of these observations are interesting and we would be keen to see if these patterns remain the same over future surveys.</p> <p>&quot;Work Life Balance&quot; and &quot;Work Satisfaction&quot; sub-components also exhibit the Developed-Emerging Market gap but they are narrower than the other sub-components of &quot;Present Life Situation&quot; and &quot;5 Year Life Situation Expectation&quot;. Continuing along the same line of reasoning, it is possible that as a market's development level increases (i.e. with concomitantly more laws and protection that are beneficial to labor), so does the expectations and aspirations of the market's labor force for more as well (i.e. more money, more opportunities, more parental leave and workplace benefits such as maternity leave, flexible work arrangements, etc.) which impinge negatively on work satisfaction.</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart12-MR.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="421" height="332" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart12-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><a name="#ft2"></a><i>2. Easterlin RA, McVey LA, Switek M, Sawangfa O, Zweig JS (2010) &quot;The happiness-“income paradox revisited,&quot; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 107 No. 52.</i><br> </p> "Personal Well-Being"<p>The &quot;Personal Well-Being&quot; component has three components exhibiting substantial gaps between Developed-Emerging markets. Of these, Family-related stress is largest with a 16.5 point difference, followed by Health-related Stress (14.7) and Work-related Stress (13.7). The scores for women in Emerging Markets in terms of work and financial stress are high (72.7 and 71.0, respectively), while that for Family- and Health-related Stress are moderately healthy (63.5 and 62.4, respectively). In contrast, women in Developed Markets scored much worse: 47.0 for Stress at Home, 47.7 for Health-related Stress, and 59.0 for Stress in the Workplace. In terms of Financial-related stress, the scores in both Developed and Emerging Markets are comparatively low than Work, Family and Health-related Stress; this is reflected in the healthy scores of 66.2 (Developed) and 71.0 (Emerging).</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart13-MR.jpg"><img width="421" height="294" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart13-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><b>Personal Well-Being: Gender Comparison</b></p> <p>The results for male respondents are relatively similar to that of females with significant gaps between the Developed and Emerging markets pertaining to stress at home (14.1), in the Workplace (15.4), Health (12.4), and Financial (4.2). The scores for all sub-components in both key market regions for males are slightly higher than that for their female counterparts.</p> <p>The alarmingly poor score among women in terms of Family Stress (47.0 compared to 51.4 for male) in Developed Markets may be accrued to the challenges of having to juggle multiple tasks, especially for women who are working. According to 2013 OECD Better Life Index, women -- working or not working -- spend longer hours in unpaid domestic work: 279 minutes per day cooking, cleaning or caring compared to men who spend 131 minutes per day doing unpaid work, translating to a difference of around 2.5 hours per day. While one would then expect men to perceive stress at home to be less, this is not the case as reflected in the low score of 51.4.</p> <p>OECD's Better Life Index also highlighted that men undertake more hours of paid work compared to women but still scored better than their female counterparts in terms of &quot;Work Stress&quot; (59.3 male versus 59.0 female in Developed Markets, and 74.7 male versus 72.7 female in Emerging Markets).<br> </p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart14-MR.jpg"><img width="420" height="293" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart14-MR.jpg"></a></p> "Voice"<p>The component of &quot;Voice&quot; is primarily aimed at gauging women's sense of self-esteem. In general, women's opinion is more highly regarded in Emerging Markets than in Developed Markets. In assessing the degree of influence/sense of empowerment in the workplace/school in terms of opportunities for career enhancement, career/educational path and how daily work is organized, women in Developed Markets scored poorly (56.5), while the score in Emerging Markets is much more robust at 69.1.</p> <p>Given the big role women have played in the household, it is not surprising that the scores for women's opinion on non-financial decisions in the household in both Developed (68.4) and Emerging Markets (72.0) are the highest among all four sub-components.</p> <p>The voice of women within the household in Emerging Markets for both financial (71.0) and non-financial decisions (72.0) carry more weight as compared to that in the Developed Markets (66.2 for financial decisions and 68.4 for non-financial decisions). The relatively healthy scores for financial decisions in both major markets underscore that women have started to come ahead in terms of making the call on money matters in the household, and are increasingly taking charge of traditional male household decisions.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart15-MR.jpg"><img width="431" height="300" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart15-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><b>Voice: Gender Comparison</b></p> <p>The results show that the opinions of men and women in the household pertaining to financial and non-financial decisions in both Developed and Emerging Markets are quite similar: average scores of 64.3 for male versus 63.5 for female in Developed Markets, and 71.6 for men versus 70.6 for female in Emerging Markets. In terms of financial decisions, the score for male respondents in Developed Markets is only two points higher than their female counterparts (68.2 versus 66.2 for women), suggesting that women's influence on household financial matters is increasingly trending towards parity with men.</p> <p>In terms of having a say on non-financial matters, women scored higher in Developed Markets (68.4 versus 66.5 for men) than in Emerging Markets.</p> <p>It is noteworthy that neither men nor women in Developed Markets feel that they are empowered in the workplace, as reflected in the weak scores of 59.4 and 56.5 in favor of men. This observation is quite different from that made in the Emerging Markets where the scores for both men and women are quite healthy: 71.1 and 69.1 in favor of men. This could be due to the fact that the nature and pace of work in Developed Markets are much more competitive than in the Emerging Markets. Another possible explanation is that the drive and desire for empowerment is not as strong in the less Developed Markets.<br> </p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart16-MR.jpg"><img width="420" height="292" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart16-MR.jpg"></a></p> Insights on Women's Well-Being by Country<p>&nbsp;<br> </p> Myanmar & Indonesia<p>The Well-Being Index scores for women in Myanmar (70.9, ranked first) and Indonesia (70.0, ranked second) are similar, with the former taking first spot among the 16 countries surveyed, followed by latter at second place.&nbsp; At the component level, women in Myanmar outperformed all their regional peers in terms of &quot;Satisfaction in Life&quot; (78.5), &quot;Personal Well-Being&quot; (79.4), and &quot;Voice&quot; (80.9, the highest component score in the survey and only component scoring over 80). Indonesian women outshined all their peers in terms of &quot;Work &amp; Finances&quot; (72.8) and &quot;Safety from Threats&quot; (68.1), and did well in terms of &quot;Personal Well-Being&quot; (70.7, second highest).</p> <p><b>Work &amp; Finances<br> </b>In terms of &quot;Work &amp; Finances,&quot; women in Myanmar and Indonesia show very positive outlook for their &quot;Regular Income&quot; and &quot;Employment&quot; prospects in the upcoming six months. In fact, nearly all female respondents from Myanmar expect their employment situation to be better (99.4, highest sub-component score in the survey). Given the OECD's medium-term economic growth forecast for Myanmar to be an average of 6.3% over 2013-17<sup><a href="#ft3">3</a></sup>, the survey result affirms the positive correlation between economic and employment growth.</p> <p>The high score (80.9, highest component score in the survey) among Burmese women in terms of &quot;Voice&quot; warrants deeper insight. As acknowledged by Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues (Embassy of Czech Republic) at a presentation in 2012 &quot;The Role of Women in Burma,&quot;<sup><a href="#ft4">4</a></sup> younger Burmese women are highly optimistic and energized about their country's future, with the majority of them having started or are participating in NGOs advocating civic activism and social entrepreneurship. This younger cohort also demonstrate independence in their way of thinking and have become increasingly empowered in embracing their rights at home, the workplace, in community and political activities, or at the university. This high level of empowerment is also reflected in the survey result where the score for &quot;Empowered at Work&quot; is 85.2-- the only country scoring higher than 80, surpassing all other markets, and a clear lead ahead of India's second highest score of 75.0.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart17-MR.jpg"><img width="580" height="161" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart17-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><b>Personal Well-Being</b><br> In terms of &quot;Personal Well-Being,&quot; although most Burmese women note little to no financial strain, their ability to keep up with bills is very poor (23.6, lowest among the 16 markets surveyed). This is most likely attributed to their low levels of income (GDP per capita of $1,700, the lowest in the survey, IMF 2013).</p> <p>The results demonstrate that women in Myanmar to be highly satisfied with their lives (78.5), especially in terms of their 5-year life situation (91.9, ahead of Philippines's second highest score of 83.1, and Indonesia at 70.7).</p> <p>The weakest Well-Being component for Burmese women is &quot;Safety from Threats&quot; at 49.1, with &quot;Violent Crime,&quot; &quot;Cyber Crime&quot; and &quot;Financial Crime&quot; being major concerns at 38.1, 46.3 and 39.1, respectively. The only sub-component that was acceptable was that for &quot;Disease Outbreak&quot; at 63.1, while that for &quot;Natural Disaster/Pollution&quot; was barely acceptable at 58.8.</p> <p><a name="ft3"></a><i>3. &quot;Getting rich before Growing Old: Jump-starting development in Myanmar ahead of population ageing,&quot; OECD Report, <a href="http://www.oecd.org/countries/myanmar/pressreleasemyanmar.htm" target="_blank">http://www.oecd.org/countries/myanmar/pressreleasemyanmar.htm</a><br> <a name="ft4"></a>4. &quot;The Role of Women in Burma,&quot; speech by Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues, Washington, DC, May 25 2012, <a href="http://www.state.gov/s/gwi/rls/rem/2012/191300.htm" target="_blank">http://www.state.gov/s/gwi/rls/rem/2012/191300.htm</a></i></p> Indonesia<p>Drawing on the World Bank's Rule of Law Governance Indicators where Indonesia's score of 54.0 was below the Emerging Asia/Pacific Average of 56.5, it is surprising that women in Indonesia perceive their safety from threats and crimes so highly in the survey (score of 68.1, top in survey). We posit the underlying reason for this to be the same as that outlined earlier: that is, in an Emerging Market like Indonesia where crime rates are higher than a Developed Market on average, expectation of crime is already high and socially internalized such that negative reports through the media or word of mouth do not impart as much negative impact on vulnerability as they would in a Developed Market.</p> <p>Indonesia also came in first place among the 16 markets for the component of &quot;Work &amp; Finances&quot; (72.8), driven mostly by the very high scores of 91.4 and 80.6 for the forward-looking sub-components of &quot;Regular Income&quot; and &quot;Employment,&quot; respectively. Indonesian women demonstrate much higher control over bill payments (65.4) compared with those in Myanmar (23.6), as well as their ability to save for big item purchases (54.0 versus 43.7 for Myanmar).</p> <p>In general, the scores for the other four main components are quite similar and relatively healthy, ranging from the lowest score of 65.6 (&quot;Financial Crime&quot;) to the highest score of 74.6 for &quot;Work Stress.&quot; Indonesian women's ability to keep up with bills payment (65.4) is also reflected in their relatively low levels of financial stress experienced (69.0).<br> </p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart18-MR.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="595" height="168" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart18-MR.jpg"></a></p> Philippines & India<p>The Well-Being Index scores for women in the Philippines (69.2, ranked third) and India (69.1, ranked fourth) are both healthy, and are the closest among the 16 countries.<br> </p> <p><b>Work &amp; Finances</b></p> <p>With the exception of the &quot;Work &amp; Finances&quot; component, the scores for the other four components are quite similar. Women in the Philippines show greater capability in keeping up with their bills payment (as reflected in their low levels of financial stress -- score of 73.3) but still struggled to save for big item purchases. In comparison, fewer women in India indicate experiencing financial stress (74.2) but are at a peril in saving for big purchases (29.3, the lowest among all markets) and can barely keep up with bills (55.4)</p> <p>This could be partly attributed to the difference in income between the two markets: the GDP per capita in the Philippines is $5,900, nearly one-third higher than that for India ($4,000).<sup><a href="#ft5">5</a></sup> In the article &quot;Big boost for retail as people spend on small items&quot; (Aug 14, 2013), it was noted that the slowdown in economic growth momentum is driving Indian consumers to continue postponing or cancelling big discretionary spends such as house, car and holiday, and treating themselves to smaller luxuries such as apparel, footwear, and make-up, instead. This is not surprising, given that the economic GDP growth rates had remained flat at 5.0% throughout 2012 and 2013, and inflationary pressures had remained very high (10.6 for 2013).<sup><a href="#ft6">6</a></sup> In contrast, inflation in the Philippines has been trending downwards from 3.2% in 2012 to 3.0 for 2013.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart19-MR.jpg"><img width="601" height="168" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart19-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><b>Personal Well-Being &amp; Voice</b></p> <p>In terms of &quot;Personal Well-Being&quot; and &quot;Voice,&quot; the scores for India are slightly healthier than in the Philippines: 75.2 and 73.3 for &quot;Voice&quot; and 73.9 versus 68.2 for &quot;Personal Well-Being&quot;-- both in favor of India. The biggest gaps are for the sub-components &quot;Family Stress&quot; (71.9 against 63.3 in favor of India) and &quot;Health&quot; (72.8 versus 61.0 in favor of India). The scores for &quot;Voice&quot; in both markets are very healthy and generally similar across the four sub-components, although the opinion of women in India pertaining to household non-financial decisions is more highly regarded (75.4 versus 71.9 for Philippines).<br> </p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart20-MR.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="603" height="168" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart20-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><a name="ft5"></a><i>5. Figures for GDP per capita are based on the 2013 estimate by IMF<br> <a name="ft6"></a>6. MasterCard Asia/Pacific Quarterly Commentary Q4 2013, Estimates sourced from the OECD, World Bank, IMF and individual country statistical board</i></p> China, Hong Kong, Thailand & Vietnam<p>The Well-Being Index scores for China (67.4, ranked fifth), Hong Kong (66.5, ranked sixth), Thailand (66.0, ranked seventh) and Vietnam (65.8, ranked eighth) are similar and quite healthy. Among the four markets, China has the highest score for &quot;Voice&quot; at 73.5 (third highest in the survey); in particular, the opinions of Chinese women within the household for both financial and non-financial decisions are highly valued at 76.3 and 76.7, respectively. With an overall Well-Being Index score of 66.5, Hong Kong is the highest among the Developed Markets.</p> <p><b>Work &amp; Finances</b></p> <p>The overall scores for the &quot;Work &amp; Finances&quot; component are very close (three points apart for all four markets), but differ vastly at the sub-component level. This is most evident when it comes to &quot;Employment&quot; and &quot;Saving for Big Purchases&quot;. While the outlook for Employment prospects is very high among women in China (74.7) and Thailand (77.4) and quite healthy for those in Vietnam (64.9), the same is not observed among women in Hong Kong (50.5). Similarly, the outlook for &quot;Regular Income&quot; for China (88.5), Thailand (90.0) and Vietnam (81.5) is very healthy, but much less optimistic in Hong Kong (72.0). We propose several underlying factors underpinning this observation:</p> <ul> <li>The working environment in Hong Kong is extremely competitive, which invariably translates into higher expectations among employees with regards to salary and employment opportunities.</li> <li>Hong Kong is the only Developed Market among the four in comparison here where the economic growth rates for 2013 and 2014 are the least robust, which may explain why the outlook on employment is not as high as the other three markets with higher economic growth estimates.</li> </ul> <p>We also observe that women in Hong Kong are capable of keeping up with bills (78.8) and saving for big purchases (78.7), while women in the other three countries are barely able to do so. This may be due to vast difference in earning power (as reflected in the GDP per Capita $PPP, IMF 2013), which is shown in the following table where income levels are significantly higher in Hong Kong -- hence greater ability to keep up with bills and save for big purchases.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart21-MR.jpg"><img width="606" height="169" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart21-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Table2-MR.jpg"><img width="422" height="212" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Table2-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><b>Satisfaction in Life</b></p> <p>Women in these four markets are generally quite satisfied with their current life situation and in five yearsÕ time, as well as their ability to strike a desired balance between work and life. Women in Vietnam (71.2) and China (71.0) expressed slightly higher satisfaction levels than women in Thailand (67.9) and Hong Kong (66.3). Specifically, women in Hong Kong (65.0) and Thailand (65.1) are just adequately able to achieve a balance between work/school and other aspects of their lives.<br> </p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Table2-MR.jpg"><img width="599" height="167" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart22-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart23-MR.jpg"><img width="595" height="166" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart23-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><b>Personal Well-Being</b></p> <p>Women in Vietnam demonstrate higher resilience than the other three markets when it came to coping with stress at home (65.5) and in the workplace (76.5, third highest among the 16 markets), keeping their health in check (61.5) and coping with financial stress (69.3).</p> <p><b>Voice<br> </b></p> <p>In terms of &quot;Voice,&quot; the survey revealed the scores for Hong Kong (67.5), Thailand (67.7) and Vietnam (67.8) to be very close, while China is ahead at 73.5. In particular, the opinion of Chinese women in the household on both financial (76.3) and non-financial (76.7) decisions is very highly valued, as is among their peers and friends (73.0).</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart24-MR.jpg"><img width="599" height="168" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart24-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Singapore, New Zealand, Australia & Malaysia<p>The Well-Being Index scores for Singapore (61.4), New Zealand (61.0), Australia (59.5) and Malaysia (58.0) are acceptable and quite similar although marked differences can be noted at the component and sub-component levels.</p> <p><b>Work &amp; Finances<br> </b></p> <p>In terms of &quot;Keeping up with Bills,&quot; women across all four markets demonstrated the ability to keep up with bills with New Zealand taking the lead at 84.0 (highest in the whole survey), followed by Australia (79.3), Singapore (76.5) and Malaysia (69.2). Using GDP per capita as a gauge of income levels, it can be inferred that as income rises, so does the ability to keep up with bills payment. It is interesting to note that higher income does not necessary convey greater capacity to save for big purchases, as is reflected in the higher scores for Australia (71.7), New Zealand (69.7) and Singapore (64.2) in the table below. In contrast, although women in Malaysia earn less, their ability to keep up with bills and save for big item purchases (63.2) is relatively commendable.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Table3-MR.jpg"><img width="420" height="253" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Table3-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p>The forward looking sub-components of &quot;Regular Income&quot; and &quot;Employment&quot; also show significantly different results with women in Australia scoring the lowest for both categories: Regular Income (54.6, third lowest in the survey) and Employment (27.8, second lowest in survey trailing Taiwan). In contrast, despite their lower income levels, Malaysian women are the most optimistic about salary and employment prospects. This may be due to the higher economic growth momentum and relatively strong labor market conditions in the country compared to the other three markets. By the same token, the slower pace of economic expansion and lackluster labor market in Australia may have contributed to the higher levels of pessimism with regards to income and employment.<br> </p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Table4-MR.jpg"><img width="419" height="210" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Table4-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><b>Safety from Threats</b></p> <p>In terms of &quot;Safety from Threats,&quot; the scores for Australia (58.6) and New Zealand (59.0) are just adequate in the range of 50s, while the score for Singapore is healthier at 64.8. Malaysia's score of 44.7 is the lowest among all 16 countries, with &quot;Violent Crime&quot; and &quot;Financial Crime&quot; scoring extremely poorly at 38.3 and 33.4, underscoring the concern among Malaysian women with regards to safety. In fact, one would expect the scores for Australia, New Zealand and Singapore to be much higher as is reflected in the World Bank's Governance Indicator &quot;Rule of Law&quot; (2012), however, this is not the case as shown in the table below:</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Table5-MR.jpg"><img width="420" height="196" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Table5-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><b>Malaysia Crime Rate: Safety for Women</b></p> <p>According to data released by Numbeo (January 2014),<sup><a href="#ft7">7</a></sup> crime rates in Malaysia are extremely high and safety levels are poor. With an overall Crime Index score of 66.41 (100 being very high and 50 being reasonable), and an overall Safety Index score of 33.59 (low score meaning safety level is poor), it is not surprising that Malaysia ranked the lowest in terms of &quot;Safety from Threats.&quot;</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Table6-MR.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="457" height="271" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Table6-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><b>Satisfaction in Life, Personal Well-Being &amp; Voice</b></p> <p>The scores for the other three components &quot;Satisfaction,&quot; &quot;Personal Well-Being&quot; and &quot;Voice&quot; are broadly similar across the four markets but are barely acceptable within the range of mid-to-high 50s and low 60s. In general, the women in these markets are not satisfied with their present life situation (53.8 for Malaysia and 55.2 for New Zealand), and are concerned about their health conditions (43.8 for both Australia and New Zealand) and stress levels in the family (48.7 in Australia, 42.7 for New Zealand and 48.6 for Singapore).<br> </p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart25-MR.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="602" height="168" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart25-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart26-MR.jpg"><img width="598" height="167" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart26-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart27-MR.jpg"><img width="600" height="167" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart27-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart28-MR.jpg"><img width="601" height="169" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart28-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><i><a name="ft7"></a>7. Crime Rates in Dhaka, Bangladesh by Numbeo, last updated January 2014</i></p> Taiwan, Bangladesh, South Korea & Japan<p>The Well-Being Index scores for Taiwan (55.0), Bangladesh (55.3), South Korea (54.9) and Japan (53.6, lowest among all markets) are very similar, but different radically at the sub-component level. In terms of &quot;Work &amp; Finances,&quot; most women in all four markets are extremely pessimistic over their regular income (bonuses and fringe benefits) and employment situation prospects over the next six months. Specifically, the employment outlook for women in Taiwan is the least sanguine and lowest in the survey at 22.9, more than four times lower than that in Myanmar (99.4). This could be due to the weak economic growth prospects of Taiwan: real GDP growth rates of 1.7% and 1.9% for 2013 and 2014, respectively.</p> <p><b>Work &amp; Finances</b></p> <p>In terms of &quot;Regular Income,&quot; the outlook among Japanese women is the most negative (32.3, lowest in the survey, about three times more pessimistic than Burmese women). We posit the underlying reasons to be the expected slowdown in the economy from 1.9% in 2013 to 1.5% in 2014 and the erosion in income levels as the hike in sales tax from 8% to 10% kicks in in April this year; which would probably impact on the outlook for income.</p> <p>The results revealed that although South Korean women are moderately able to keep up with bills (74.1), &quot;Saving for Big Purchases&quot; (35.0, third lowest in the survey, and lowest among Developed Markets) is a huge challenge for them. This is most likely due to the very low household savings rate in the country (4.8% for 2013 and expected to decline to 4.3% for 2014, OECD<sup><a href="#ft8">8</a></sup>) as they borrow heavily to spend on private education and real estate investment-- a trend which is manifested in the rising household debt rate (US$940 billion as at the end of 2013; amounting to 164% of available income). Hyundai Research InstituteÕs latest Economic Happiness Index published in December 2013 revealed that nearly one in every five South Koreans saw household debt as their biggest economic worry. This is also consistent with what is observed in MasterCard's Well-Being survey results: family stress in the country is the second lowest in the survey at 43.5.</p> <p>In comparison, women in Japan and Taiwan express less difficulty in paying off their bills and saving for big item purchases.</p> <p>Bangladesh -- being the only Emerging Market among the four markets compared here -- scored poorly across all four sub-components. In particular, &quot;Saving for Big Purchases&quot; (31.7) and &quot;Keeping up with Bills&quot; (44.1) are the second lowest scores in the survey. This could be due to the significantly lower earning power of women in the country (GDP per capita, PPP, $2,100) as compared to the other markets such as Japan where a GDP per capita of $37,100 extends substantially greater ability to keep up with bills (78.6) and save for big purchases (68.5).</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Table7-MR.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="492" height="235" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Table7-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><b>Safety from Threats</b></p> <p>In terms of &quot;Safety from Threats,&quot; the scores for all four markets are poor, with Bangladesh (47.2) ranked the second lowest overall in the survey. Specifically, &quot;Violent Crime&quot; (39.5) and &quot;Financial Crime&quot; (43.1) are both very low scores, underscoring the high degree of concern among Bangladeshi women. According to a study &quot;Types, causes and measures of violent crimes in Bangladesh&quot; published in 2011, violent crime in Bangladesh is present in many forms including murder, rape, assault, domestic violence, and many others. A recent survey of crime trends conducted by the United Nations, states that the murder rate in the country is the most violent crime which was 2.3 per 100,000 people and continues to be on an upward trend. The research also highlighted the following points:</p> <ul> <li>Rape rates in Bangladesh are very high (ranked just after murder)</li> <li>Two girls out of 100,00 are raped per year</li> <li>Other crimes against women include domestic violence, acid-attacks and eve-teasing (a form of public sexual harassment)</li> <li>Violence against women is one of the highest in the world<br> </li> </ul> <p>The indices released by Numbeo indicate alarmingly high crime rates in Dhaka, Bangladesh (even higher than for Malaysia). With a Crime Index of 66.57 (100 being very high and 50 being reasonable), and a Safety Index of 33.43 (low score meaning safety level is poor), it is reflective of the concerns expressed by the female respondents in the MasterCard survey.</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Table8-MR.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="500" height="282" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Table8-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><b>Cyber Crime in South Korea</b><br> </p> <p>The results reveal that &quot;Cyber Crimes&quot; are of grave concern among South Korean women, as is reflected in the score of 39.1 for the country (lowest in survey). Data from the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning highlight that South Korea has seen over 100,000 cyber crime cases annually since 2010, including hacking and distributed denial-of-service attacks. Between 2008 and 2011, cyber attacks rose by 37% (Korea Internet Security Agency). On average, 296 cyber-attacks by unidentified hackers were reported daily in 2012, and the situation has not improved in 2013.<sup><a href="#ft9">9</a></sup> The following is a list of some of the most severe and wide-scale attacks reported in the country:<br> </p> <ul> <li>2009: A number of government websites including the presidential Blue House and National Assembly crashed for days after being targeted with malicious code. The estimated loss of cyber attacks in 2009 alone was between US$33.7 million and US$50.5 million (Hyundai Research Institute).</li> <li>2011: A bank's entire computer system was hacked and shut down, leaving tens of thousands of computers infected and some permanently damaged (The Korea Information Technology Research Institute)</li> <li>June 2013: High-profile attacks that led to the shutdown of websites of the presidential office, government offices, news outlets and banks.</li> </ul> <p><b>Personal Well-Being</b></p> <p>The results indicate that the majority of women in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan experience stress at home and in the workplace, and do not feel that their health is at the optimal condition. Across the 16 markets, the score for &quot;Family Stress&quot; is the lowest in Japan (42.5), followed closely by South Korea (43.5) and Taiwan (43.8); with Bangladesh scoring slightly higher at 52.5. Emotional and mental stress in the workplace are also a serious concern and are most pronounced among South Korean women (55.4, lowest in the survey) and Taiwanese women (56.5, third lowest). The high level of stress experienced in these markets is reflected in the poor scores for &quot;Health&quot; as well, with women in South Korea scoring the lowest in the survey at 42.0, followed by Japan (44.8), Taiwan (48.5) and Bangladesh (53.4).<b></b></p> <p><b>Stress in Japan</b></p> <p>The survey revealed that dealing with family stress is one of the most acute problems facing Japanese women today. Numerous studies that have been conducted to evaluate this issue indicate that some of the sources of family stress include demographical changes, marital instability, family care, educational issues and child rearing stress. In his research paper &quot;Families and their children in Japan&quot; (2008),<sup><a href="#ft10">10</a></sup> Masahito Sasaki highlighted that family burdens in Japan are related to not only socio-economic pressures, but internal changes such as physiological and psychological stress and external changes such as industrialization and urbanization as well. A more current journal article &quot;Japanese Society under Stress: Diagnosis and Prescription&quot; (Asian Survey, 2012<sup><a href="#ft11">11</a></sup>) authored by psychotherapist Suzanne Hall Vogel, noted that Japan has transformed from a homogeneous society emphasizing a commonly shared ethic, family structure and social cohesion into a more diversified and international society with more variation in family patterns and work conditions -- a shift that has increased stress within families. In the study titled &quot;Multigenerational family structure in Japanese society: impacts on stress and health behaviors among women and men&quot; (Takeda, et.al., 2004) noted that the multigenerational family structure in the Japanese society (due in part to rapid population aging in the country), coupled with rising labor force participation by Japanese women, declining marriage and fertility rates and women's changing expectations have combined to produce higher strains within the households. The study revealed women in multigenerational households reported more worries around care-giving.<sup><a href="#ft12">12</a></sup><br> </p> <p><b>Stress in South Korea</b></p> <p>Being overworked, overstressed and highly anxious is widespread among South Koreans, including students, professionals, entertainers, politicians, athletes and business leaders, and this is evident in the rising divorce rate, low fertility rate (fourth lowest in the world), a suicide rate that is among the highest in the world (doubling in the decade between 1999 and 2009 with more than 30 South Koreans killing themselves daily) and a 'macho corporate culture that still encourages blackout drinking sessions after work' (The New York Times, 2011).<sup><a href="#ft13">13</a></sup></p> <p>According to a study conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute in 2010,<sup><a href="#ft14">14</a> </sup>other factors that directly impact women and their families and that are contributing to the intensely stressful environment in South Korea include: (i) high cost of living and of educating children which adversely leads to declining fertility, (ii) hugely expensive mortgages -- home prices in the country are 7.7 times the median income, with banks commonly requiring a 50% down payment on home loans with payment terms of 10 years or less; (iii) low household savings rate of around 4% (2011) which makes it highly stressful to keep up with loan payments; and (iv) although 71% of secondary school graduates are sent to college, the employment rate is low for new college graduates (around 60%).</p> <p><b>Satisfaction in Life</b></p> <p>We observe a strong, positive correlation between &quot;Personal Well-Being&quot; and &quot;Satisfaction&quot; in life. The results indicate that the strain of having to deal with stress is reflected in low satisfaction levels among the women in these markets, with Japan scoring the lowest overall (50.5), followed by Taiwan (55.3) and South Korea (57.6). It is interesting to note that women in Bangladesh are quite satisfied with their lives (score of 63.6 is higher than other Developed Markets such as Australia (62.1), New Zealand (61.8), and Singapore (59.7).<br> </p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart29-MR.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="599" height="167" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart29-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart30-MR.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="599" height="168" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart30-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart31-MR.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="602" height="168" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart31-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart32-MR.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="601" height="168" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Chart32-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p><i><a name="ft8"></a>8. OECD's forecast of Household Savings Rate<br> <a name="ft9"></a>9. &quot;South Korea's 'Best of the Best' tackle cyber crime.&quot; CNN News, 14 Jan 2013, quoting data from the Korea Information Technology Research Institute<br> <a name="ft10"></a>10, Sasaki, Masahito (2008) 'Families and their children in Japan'<br> <a name="ft11"></a>11. Hall Vogel, Suzanne (2012) &quot;Japanese Society under Stress: Diagnosis and Prescription,&quot; Asian Survey, University of California Press, 2012<br> <a name="ft12"></a>12. Takeda, Yasuhisa et.al. (2004) &quot;Multigenerational family structure in Japanese society: impacts on stress and health behaviors among women and men,&quot; Social Science &amp; Medicine, Vol.59, Issue 1, July 2004, pp. 69-81<br> <a name="ft13"></a>13. &quot;Stressed and depressed, Koreans avoid therapyâ&quot; The New York Times, 6 July 2011<br> <a name="ft14"></a>14. &quot;Why South Korea is under stress and college graduates there earn less than if they didn't have a degree,&quot; quoting McKinsey study (2010)</i></p> Conclusion<p>The spread of the overall Women's Well-Being Index values across the 16 Asia/Pacific markets shows all of them above the neutral (50 point) mark with Myanmar (70.9) and Indonesia (70.0) taking the leading positions and Japan (53.6) and South Korea (54.9) being the two lowest, against the regional average of 62.7. There is marked inter-market divergence between the seven Developed Markets (average of 58.8) and the nine Emerging Markets (average of 65.7), as well as intra-market divergences within the Emerging/Developed Markets brackets.</p> <p>In the Developed Markets -- with the exception of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan -- Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia are above the Developed Market average of 58.8. With an overall Well-Being Index score of 66.5, Hong Kong has a clear lead compared to the other six countries in the Developed Market region, while Japan (53.6) has the lowest score. Among the Emerging Markets, Malaysia (58.0) and Bangladesh (55.3) are the only two markets with scores below the Emerging Market average of 65.7. Myanmar (70.9) and Indonesia (70.0) have the highest and healthiest overall Well-Being Index scores; followed by the Philippines and India at 69.2 and 69.1, respectively.</p> <p>The survey showed that a higher standard of living among countries in the Developed Markets such as Japan does not necessarily translate to a higher sense of well-being than in the Emerging Markets such as Myanmar and Indonesia. For instance, the score for Personal Well-Being among women is generally poor, except for Myanmar (79.4), India (73.9) and Indonesia (70.7). High stress levels in the home and workplace and less-than-optimal health conditions are serious concerns among women in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan where a strong positive correlation between &quot;Personal Well-Being&quot; and &quot;Satisfaction&quot; in life is observed.</p> <p>At the component level, Developed Asia/Pacific has a higher score in only one component (Safety from threats 57.0 versus 55.1 for Emerging Markets). For all the other components of &quot;Work and Finances,&quot; &quot;Satisfaction,&quot; &quot;Personal Well-Being,&quot; and &quot;Voice,&quot; the scores for Emerging Markets are markedly ahead of that in the developed countries. With the exception of &quot;Cyber Crime&quot; and &quot;Natural Disaster/Pollution,&quot; it is also observed that the Developed Markets do not have a markedly higher overall score (57.0) relative to Emerging Markets (55.1). In fact, the survey revealed that the score for Developed Markets in &quot;Disease Outbreak&quot; was only marginally higher than that for Emerging Markets (61.6 versus 60.1).<br> </p> Source and Notes<p>The MasterCard Index of Well-Being is based on a survey conducted between October 2013 and November 2013 on 7,532 respondents aged 18-64 in 16 markets.</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Table9-MR.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="429" height="182" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Table9-MR.jpg"></a></p> <p>Respondents were asked 21 questions pertaining to five categories. The results of their responses were converted in five category sub-indexes, which were subsequently averaged to form the MasterCard Index of Well-Being (MCIWB) score. The MCIWB score and the five component index scores range from 0-100 where 0 represents the maximum negative response, 100 represents maximum positive response and 50 represents neutrality.</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Table10-MR.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="470" height="640" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2014/WomensWellBeing/Table10-MR.jpg"></a></p> The MasterCard Index of Well-Being for Women is a new index based on a survey comprising 16 Asia/Pacific markets that will be conducted bi-annually. Launched in January 2014, the Index aims to provide an in-depth measure of the level of well-being among nations in Asia/Pacific by examining the impact of wide-ranging factors such as work-life balance, cybercrime and disease outbreak on female respondents. Overall, the research reflects their attitudes toward five categories: "Work and Finances," "Safety from Threats," "Personal and Work Satisfaction," "Personal Well-Being" and "Sense of Empowerment."http://www1.mastercard.com/content/intelligence/en/research/reports/2014/mastercard-index-of-well-being-for-women-20142014-03-05T16:00:00.000Z2014-03-05T16:00:00.000ZWomen Still Missing from Top Jobs in Business, Government in Asia/Pacific Georgette Tan, Robert O’BrienMasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties<p>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&nbsp;MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement, Online Shopping,&nbsp;Index of Financial Literacy, and the&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/digital-press-kits/mastercard-global-destination-cities-index-2013/" target="_blank"><b>Index of Global Destination Cities</b></a>. In addition to the Indices, MasterCard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including Ethical Spending&nbsp;and a series on&nbsp;Consumer Purchasing Priorities&nbsp;(covering&nbsp;Travel,&nbsp;Dining &amp; Entertainment, Education,&nbsp;Money Management,&nbsp;Luxury&nbsp;and General Shopping).</p> <p>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.</p> <p>MasterCard has also released a series of four books on Asian consumer insights, authored by&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/people/dyuwa/" target="_blank"><b>Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong</b></a>, Global Economic Advisor for MasterCard Worldwide and published by John Wiley &amp; Sons.</p> About MasterCard<p><a href="http://www.mastercard.com/index.html" target="_blank"><b>MasterCard</b></a>&nbsp;(NYSE: MA),&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mastercard.com/" target="_blank"><b>www.mastercard.com</b></a>,<b>&nbsp;</b>is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate&nbsp;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&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/MasterCardNews" target="_blank"><b>@MasterCardNews</b></a><b>,&nbsp;</b>join the discussion on the&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/blog/" target="_blank"><b>Cashless Conversations Blog</b></a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<b><a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/subscribe/" target="_blank">subscribe</a>&nbsp;</b>for the latest&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/" target="_blank"><b>news</b></a>.</p> Contacts:<p>Georgette Tan,<br> MasterCard Worldwide,&nbsp;<br> <a href="mailto:georgette_tan@mastercard.com">georgette_tan@mastercard.com</a>,<br> +65 6390 5971</p> <p>Robert O’Brien,<br> Weber Shandwick,&nbsp;<br> <a href="mailto:robrien@webershandwick.com">robrien@webershandwick.com</a>,<br> +65 6825 8064</p> The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement measures the socioeconomic standing of women across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. http://www1.mastercard.com/content/intelligence/en/research/reports/2013/women-still-missing-from-top-jobs-in-business--government-in-asi2013-03-05T16:00:00.000Z2013-03-05T16:00:00.000ZFew Women in South Asia Have a Seat at the Table in Business and Parliament: MasterCard Index Georgette Tan, Robert O’BrienMasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties<p>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&nbsp;MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement, Online Shopping,&nbsp;Index of Financial Literacy, and the&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/digital-press-kits/mastercard-global-destination-cities-index-2013/" target="_blank"><b>Index of Global Destination Cities</b></a>. In addition to the Indices, MasterCard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including Ethical Spending&nbsp;and a series on&nbsp;Consumer Purchasing Priorities&nbsp;(covering&nbsp;Travel,&nbsp;Dining &amp; Entertainment, Education,&nbsp;Money Management,&nbsp;Luxury&nbsp;and General Shopping).</p> <p>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.</p> <p>MasterCard has also released a series of four books on Asian consumer insights, authored by&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/people/dyuwa/" target="_blank"><b>Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong</b></a>, Global Economic Advisor for MasterCard Worldwide and published by John Wiley &amp; Sons.</p> About MasterCard<p><a href="http://www.mastercard.com/index.html" target="_blank"><b>MasterCard</b></a>&nbsp;(NYSE: MA),&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mastercard.com/" target="_blank"><b>www.mastercard.com</b></a>,<b>&nbsp;</b>is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate&nbsp;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&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/#!/MasterCardNews" target="_blank"><b>@MasterCardNews</b></a><b>,&nbsp;</b>join the discussion on the&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/blog/" target="_blank"><b>Cashless Conversations Blog</b></a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<b><a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/subscribe/" target="_blank">subscribe</a>&nbsp;</b>for the latest&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/" target="_blank"><b>news</b></a>.</p> Contacts:<p>Georgette Tan,<br> MasterCard Worldwide,&nbsp;<br> <a href="mailto:georgette_tan@mastercard.com">georgette_tan@mastercard.com</a>,<br> +65 6390 5971</p> <p>Vasundhara Subrahmanian,<br> Weber Shandwick,&nbsp;<br> <a href="mailto:vsubrahmanian@webershandwick.com">vsubrahmanian@webershandwick.com</a>,<br> +65 6825 8054</p> The South Asia edition of the MasterCard Index of Women’s Advancement measures the socioeconomic standing of women across India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan. http://www1.mastercard.com/content/intelligence/en/research/reports/2013/few-women-in-south-asia-have-a-seat-at-the-table-in-business-and2013-04-18T16:00:00.000Z2013-04-18T16:00:00.000ZHow Well Do Women Know Their Money: Financial Literacy Across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa How Well Do Women Know Their Money: Financial Literacy Across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa<p>As financial products become increasingly complex and readily available, it is imperative that financial literacy keeps pace. This is especially important for women as they generally outlive men, have shorter working years (mainly due to taking time off to raise children during their peak earning years), and are still earning less than men. This also means that there is a need for women to be financially independent and able to manage their finances.</p> <p>Being financially literate calls for the ability to make well-informed financial decisions and to manage risks not just for themselves as individuals, but for their family (e.g. ability to participate or lead family decisions on home and car purchases/ mortgages, children education funds, retirement planning, etc.), their businesses (e.g. investments, costing and forecasting, etc.), and investments (e.g. assets, financial products, avoidance of bad debts, etc.).</p> <p>This report discusses the results from the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Financial Literacy and demonstrates the importance of work-life experience in acquiring ''financial literacy'' for women. It also highlights the need for targeted financial literacy education to close the gap between the current level of financial literacy and the level it 'should' be at.</p> <p>The Index is based on a survey of 10,502 consumers from 24 markets across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) conducted between 13 September and 11 November 2010, and comprises questions covering three major components:</p> <p>1. Basic Money Management (weighted 50%): To determine the level of basic money management skills in terms of budgeting, savings, and responsibility of credit usage.</p> <p>2. Financial Planning (weighted 30%): To assess the level of knowledge of financial products, services, and concepts, and ability to plan for long-term financial needs.</p> <p>3. Investment (weighted 20%): To determine basic understanding of the various risks associated with investment, different investment products and skills required.</p> <p>A Financial Literacy Index Score for each market was calculated out of the weighted sum of the three components.</p> <p>The following sections summarize the findings, with a brief snapshot of specific markets where women stood out as financially savvy, or were lacking financial literacy skills.</p> <p>Chart 1. Financial Literacy Index&nbsp;- Asia/Pacific</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart1financialliteracyindexasiapacific.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart1financialliteracyindexasiapacific.jpg"></a><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart1financialliteracyindexasiapacific2.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart1financialliteracyindexasiapacific2.jpg"></a></p> Asia/Pacific Developed Markets Not Necessarily More Financial Literate than Developing Markets<p>The 2010 survey showed that the level of financial literacy varied across the markets in Asia/Pacific, with scores ranging from a low of 55.9 (Korea) to a high of 73.9 (Thailand). Another result of interest is how women in developed markets do not necessarily demonstrate higher financial literacy over their counterparts in developing markets. Women in Thailand, a developing market, topped the Financial Literacy Index with an index score of 73.9. They also had the highest scores in financial planning (87.0) and investment (69.3), outshining all their peers in Asia/Pacific.</p> <p>Chart 2. Financial Literacy Index&nbsp;- Asia/Pacific: Gender Gap (Female/Male)</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart2financialliteracyindexasiapacificgendergap.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart2financialliteracyindexasiapacificgendergap.jpg"></a><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart2financialliteracyindexasiapacificgendergap2.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart2financialliteracyindexasiapacificgendergap2.jpg"></a></p> <p>Meanwhile, women in Korea, a developed country, had the lowest financial literacy score of 55.9 and ranked the lowest in two of the major components: basic money management (51.1) and financial planning (65.7). Korean women had the lowest financial literacy score of 55.9 and ranked the lowest in two of the major components: basic money management (51.1) and financial planning (65.7), while Japan had the lowest investment score (38.4). Only 40% of Korean women polled said they understood the concept of compound interest rates; 36% did not understand the concept; and the remaining 24% were not sure or did not know. This is a cause of concern as most of them would have likely made numerous decisions involving interest rates in their lifetimes such as credit card rates, car and mortgage financing rates, etc.</p> <p>Korean women also had weak financial planning skills, with only 52% realizing the importance of having emergency funds. Only 43% of them had started saving for their retirement. Less than half (45%) of them understood most of the information contained in financial statements. When it came to investments, only 27% understood that diversification of a portfolio of stocks helped to mitigate risk, and just 58% of them regularly monitored their investments. A more startling finding was that only one in five Korean women (22%) had a basic understanding of inflation and its impact on the future value of money. Of concern was the fact that although the majority of Korean women polled were the household financial decisionmakers, most of them had very low financial literacy scores. This suggests that making financial decisions for the household alone does not contribute significantly towards the acquisition of financial literacy skills.</p> Financial Literacy Inculcates Better Financial Planning Habits<p>There is a close correlation between financial knowledge and planning: women who exhibited higher levels of financial literacy were more likely to be proactive in planning for their future. This may be especially true for women in Thailand and Vietnam where they are generally ambitious and self-driven, credit-worthy, and increasingly mobile in terms of migrating to the city areas (e.g. Bangkok in Thailand) to seek employment. For those who remained in the rural areas where informal credit is quite readily accessible, it is not uncommon for them to operate their own small-to-medium (SME) businesses or home-based subcontracting work to supplement family income. Through this, many of them had the opportunity to acquire vital and valuable first-hand entrepreneurial experience and exposure to financial planning and money management concepts.</p> Older and Working Women: Having A Better Grasp of Finance Matters<p>On average, women aged 30 and above who are married and working were more knowledgeable and skilled in terms of long-term financial planning and investment, compared to those who are unmarried and not in the workforce (this was evident for all regions as seen in Chart 2). This was most apparent in Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore and Vietnam. One explanation for this is that women who have been in the workforce or running their own businesses for a longer time, and who are older, and perhaps had their own families and households to manage would have had made many more financial decisions and acquired more work-life experience over their lifetimes. These could have included familiarity with credit card rates, children's education funds, mortgage financing, household expenditure, regular savings, etc.</p> Asia/Pacific's Financial Literacy Index: Gender Gap (Female/Male)<p>The gender gap scores for the Financial Literacy Index shows how women's financial literacy skills fared against men and is derived by dividing the female financial literacy scores over men's. Chart&nbsp;2 shows that the level of financial literacy among women in Singapore, Taiwan and New Zealand were slightly lower than their male counterparts. In the other markets, the financial literacy of women and men were fairly equal, given that the scores did not deviate from the Gender Parity Line (of 100) too much.</p> Middle East<p>Within the Middle East region, Egyptian women had the highest Financial Literacy Index score (70.2) while women in UAE had the lowest index score of 56.2 (see Chart 3).</p> Good Money Management Habits Among Egyptian Women<p>Chart 4 shows women in Egypt scored the highest in terms of basic money management (72.4) compared to Qatar (71.7) and Saudi&nbsp;Arabia (70.3). A substantial proportion of the Egyptian women respondents (93%) have good budgeting habits for their daily finances, while 89% are able to keep up with their bills and credit commitments. Most of them (76%) are able to set aside money for big item purchases (compared to only 51% for Kuwaiti women), while another 86% keep track of their weekly/monthly spending (compared to just 58% for UAE women). Egyptian women's understanding of compounded interest rates was also the highest&nbsp;- 57% understood the concept compared to 13% in Lebanon.</p> <p>Women in Qatar did fairly well for basic money management (score of 71.7 vs. regional average of 64.7), and financial planning (score of 82.4 vs. regional average of 71.0).</p> Knowledge of Investing: An Area for Improvement among Middle Eastern Women<p>In terms of investment, women in Saudi Arabia had the highest score (54.9), compared to Egypt (54.1) and UAE (48.3). See Chart 5, in particular, their understanding of inflation, future value of money, and risk diversification of investment portfolio were higher than their peers in the Middle East region. Nearly half (43%) answered the question on future value of money correctly compared to only 5% for women in Qatar. More than half (55%) of them answered the question on inflation correctly compared with 5% and 18% for women in Qatar and Egypt respectively.</p> <p>Chart 3. Women's Financial Literacy Index&nbsp;- Middle East&nbsp;</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart3womensfinancialliteracyindexmiddleeast.jpg"><img src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart3womensfinancialliteracyindexmiddleeast.jpg"></a></p> <p>Chart 4. Women's Basic Money Management Component&nbsp;- Middle East</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart4womensbasicmoneymanagementcomponentmiddleeast.jpg"><img src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart4womensbasicmoneymanagementcomponentmiddleeast.jpg"></a></p> <p>However, in comparison with markets in Asia/Pacific and Africa, the women in Middle East had the lowest investment score (48.3 compared to 56.7 for Asia/Pacific and 49.4 for Africa). In fact, for each of the three APMEA regions, the average regional score for investment was the lowest among the three financial literacy components.</p> <p>With the exception of Saudi Arabia, the gap in financial literacy between men and women in all the Middle East markets was small, suggesting that both men and women had fairly equal financial literacy. See Chart 7.</p> <p>Chart 5. Women's Financial Plannning Component - Middle East</p> <p><b><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart5womensfinancialplannningcomponentmiddleeast.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart5womensfinancialplannningcomponentmiddleeast.jpg"></a></b></p> <p>Chart 6. Women's Investment Component&nbsp;- Middle East</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart6womensinvestmentcomponentmiddleeast.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart6womensinvestmentcomponentmiddleeast.jpg"></a></p> <p>Although women in Saudi Arabia ranked third overall with a Financial Literacy Index of 68.5 (trailing Egypt and Qatar), when compared to their male counterparts, their level of financial literacy was markedly higher, as indicated by the gender gap score of 120.</p> <p>Chart 8 shows Saudi Arabia, women scored much higher than their male counterparts, especially in basic money management and financial planning, where the gender gap score was 128.0 and 115.8, respectively.</p> <p>Chart 7. Financial Literacy Index&nbsp;- Middle East: Gender Gap (Female/Male)</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart7financialliteracyindexmiddleeastgendergap.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart7financialliteracyindexmiddleeastgendergap.jpg"></a></p> <p>Chart 8. Financial Literacy Index&nbsp;- Saudi Arabia: Gender Gap (Female/Male)</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart8financialliteracyindexsaudiarabiagendergap.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart8financialliteracyindexsaudiarabiagendergap.jpg"></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Africa<p>Within Africa, Nigerian women had the highest overall Financial Literacy Index score of 65.5 (Chart 9). In terms of basic money management and investment, Nigerian women scored the highest among their peers. They had the second highest score for financial planning among African markets and actually performed better than most of the Asia/Pacific markets (New Zealand, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, India, Hong Kong, China and Australia), and Middle East markets (Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates) as well.</p> <p>Women in Kenya fared most poorly, with an overall Financial Literacy Index of just 50.3, the lowest among all the three regions. This was mainly due to their lack of knowledge and skills in basic money management (score of only 40.6). In particular, they had little understanding of interest rates and the use of unsecured loan facilities, which typically carry very high interest rates.</p> <p>Women in Morocco also had a poor financial literacy score (index score of 56.2). This lack of knowledge was most pronounced in their basic investment skills and understanding. The index score of 38.0 was the lowest among all the three regions. Only 4 in every 10 women weighed out financial products prior to a purchase, and less than 2 in 10 monitored their investment on a regular basis. Only 2 in every 10 women had a proper basic understanding of inflation.</p> Nigerian Women Learning by Necessity<p>For many years, women in Nigeria have been the most vulnerable cohort bearing the brunt of the nation's underdevelopment. Frequently denied access to micro credit, they were forced to find their means of living in the informal economy where interest rates charged were usually much higher. Today, the majority of Nigerian women work as micro agro-entrepreneurs, and although they do not earn much, they are relatively literate financially due to their business and work; this is profoundly evident in the survey results.</p> <p>In terms of basic money management, 86% of them had good budgeting skills, more than half (53%) were able to set aside money for bigitem purchases, and 77% were prudent in tracking their weekly/monthly spending. Majority (91%) of the respondents understood that financial planning was not only for the rich; 93% realized it was important to start financial planning early; and 97% believed in saving on a regular basis. With regards to investment, Nigerian women had a fairly good understanding of financial statements (68%), the importance of product comparison (77%), and good investment monitoring habits (81%). However, they had a weaker understanding of portfolio diversification (42%) and inflation (41%).</p> <p>Chart 9. Financial Literacy Index&nbsp;- Africa</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart9financialliteracyindexafrica.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart9financialliteracyindexafrica.jpg"></a></p> Africa Financial Literacy Index: Gender Gap (Female/Male)<p>African women generally had lower financial literacy than men in the region. However, given that the gender gap scores were close to the Gender Parity Line, it suggests that women and men were more or less equal in terms of financial literacy.</p> <p>Chart 10.&nbsp;Financial Literacy Index&nbsp;- Africa: Gender Gap (Female/Male)</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart10financialliteracyindexafricagendergap.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart10financialliteracyindexafricagendergap.jpg"></a></p> <p>If being older, being married or being employed are reasonable proxies for having more work-life experience than being younger, being unmarried and not being employed, then judging from the higher financial literacy scores of married, older or working women in most of the 24 markets, it is reasonable to suggest that women with more work-life experience tend to be more financially literate.</p> <p>Chart 11. Women's Financial Literacy Index: By Age&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart11womensfinancialliteracyindexbyage.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart11womensfinancialliteracyindexbyage.jpg"></a></p> <p>Chart 12. Women's Financial Literacy Index: By Age</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart12womensfinancialliteracyindexbyage.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart12womensfinancialliteracyindexbyage.jpg"></a></p> <p>Chart 13. Women's Financial Literacy Index: By Age</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart13womensfinancialliteracyindexbyage.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart13womensfinancialliteracyindexbyage.jpg"></a></p> <p>In comparing the Financial Literacy scores of working versus non-working women, in general, working women did better. Hong Kong, Kuwait and UAE were the only exceptions.</p> <p>Chart 14. Women's Financial Literacy Index: By Work Status</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart14womensfinancialliteracyindexbyworkstatus.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart14womensfinancialliteracyindexbyworkstatus.jpg"></a></p> <p>Chart 15. Women's Financial Literacy Index: By Work Status</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart15womensfinancialliteracyindexbyworkstatus.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart15womensfinancialliteracyindexbyworkstatus.jpg"></a></p> <p>Chart 16. Women's Financial Literacy Index: By Work Status</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart16womensfinancialliteracyindexbyworkstatus.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart16womensfinancialliteracyindexbyworkstatus.jpg"></a></p> <p>In comparing the Financial Literacy scores of married versus unmarried women, in general, working women did better. China, Japan, Kuwait, Lebanon and Kenya were the only exceptions.</p> <p>Chart 17. Women's Financial Literacy Index: Married/Unmarried</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart17womensfinancialliteracyindexmarriedunmarried.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart17womensfinancialliteracyindexmarriedunmarried.jpg"></a></p> <p>Chart 18. Women's Financial Literacy Index: Married/Unmarried</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart18womensfinancialliteracyindexmarriedunmarried.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart18womensfinancialliteracyindexmarriedunmarried.jpg"></a></p> <p>Chart 19. Women's Financial Literacy Index: Married/Unmarried&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart19womensfinancialliteracyindexmarriedunmarried.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/chart19womensfinancialliteracyindexmarriedunmarried.jpg"></a></p> The Roadmap Ahead<p>The need to improve financial literacy among women should not be underestimated. The survey has shown how varied the level of financial literacy is across the markets in Asia/Pacific. In the same region, it is also evident how the level of development in each market does not necessarily reflect the level of financial literacy as shown by the highest (Thailand) and lowest (Japan, Korea) scoring markets on the index. Although the Middle East markets scored well in general, the lower scores of Lebanon (61.8), UAE (56.2) and Kuwait (58.0) indicate that there is room for improvement. The situation is similar among the African markets (with the exception of Nigeria (65.5)); Kenya (50.3), Morocco (56.2) and South Africa (61.1).</p> <p>One possible way to improve financial literacy among women is through targeted financial literacy education, as opposed to general education in schools. If general education has been improving over time, then clearly general education is insufficient, else we would have expected the scores of women under 30 to be better those of women over 30. The higher scores of women over 30 (and married versus unmarried women; and working versus non-working women) suggest that financial literacy is generally acquired more through work-life experience in terms of running a business, getting a mortgage, working, and even just acquiring these skills with age and experiences. If this is so, then there is a clear gap for targeted financial literacy education to fill.</p> As financial products become increasingly complex and readily available, it is imperative that financial literacy keeps pace. This is especially important for women as they generally outlive men, have shorter working years (mainly due to taking time off to raise children during their peak earning years), and are still earning less than men.http://www1.mastercard.com/content/intelligence/en/research/reports/2011/how-well-do-women-know-their-money-financial-literacy-across-asiapacific-middle-east-and-africa2010-12-31T16:00:00.000Z2010-12-31T16:00:00.000ZMastercard Index Of Women’s Advancement (Miwa) 2015 1. Introduction<p>The 2015 Index of Women’s Advancement marks the 9<sup>th</sup> series of MasterCard’s effort in tracking the progress of women towards gender parity based on <i>Employment</i> (Workforce Participation and Regular Employment), <i>Capability</i> (Secondary and Tertiary Education), and <i>Leadership</i> (Business Owners, Business Leaders and Political Leaders). The results reveal that the progress made by women towards gender parity in the majority of the 16 markets<sup><a href="#1">1</a></sup> in Asia Pacific is sluggish with the large gaps in Leadership and to a lesser extent, Employment, remaining prevalent and an ongoing area of concern.<br> <br> Although opportunities exist for women to pursue higher levels of education (reflected through the high scores for Capability), labor market conditions are not always conducive for them in seeking employment. Very few women are making inroads into the business/corporate world, a situation that was highlighted in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2012 Women’s Report<sup><a href="#2">2</a></sup> whereby factors such as poor self-assessment of capabilities and fear of failures have been cited to be the key deterrents of women progressing in the business and political world. In Japan, despite good progress being achieved by women in terms of attainment of education, the further pursuit of career and participation in business, leadership and politics is often foregone due to the deep-rooted tradition and cultural expectation for married women to stay at home as the primary caretakers and household decision makers. In South Asia, women in Nepal outshone their regional peers in political representation, with the score for Leadership surging from 5.5 (zero female politicians in 2014) to 41.2 in 2015 (4.3 female politicians out of every 10 male politicians).<br> <br> Drawing on the results of MasterCard’s latest Women’s Well Being Index Survey for 2014H2<sup><a href="#3">3</a></sup>, we note that despite the slow progress made by women, the perception of their overall wellbeing in life remains optimistic. This is especially evident in India where women’s regard for personal wellness increased from 69.6 in 2014H1 to 73.3, placing them in 2<sup>nd</sup> place among the 16 Asia Pacific markets surveyed.&nbsp; This could be attributed to their particularly high resilience in life from threats such as violent and financial crime, natural disasters and pollution, as well as their ability to cope with stress both at home and at the workplace. </p> 2. ASIA PACIFIC<sup>4</sup><p style="text-align: center;"><i>Solid traction towards gender parity in Capability in New Zealand, Thailand, Philippines &amp; Vietnam; Progress in Leadership lacking in most markets</i></p> <p>Women in New Zealand, Australia and the Philippines continue to outshine their regional peers with New Zealand scoring highest at 77.3 (2014: 78.2), followed by Australia at 76.0 (2014: 76.4) and the Philippines at 72.6 (2014: 72.3). The biggest declines in overall score are observed in Thailand (59.4 points, down 7.2) while the largest improvement is achieved in Singapore (up 0.4 points to 70.5). The results indicate that with the exception of 6 markets (Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines), the scores for the remaining markets declined or remained unchanged (Japan and Vietnam).<br> <br> <i><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_1.png" target="_blank"><img width="555" height="276" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_1.png"></a></i></p> <p></p> <p></p> Capability<p>As an indicator of Female to Male Secondary and Tertiary School Gross Enrolment Rate (GER) ratio, the Capability sub-index reflects the degree of women’s access to education and acquisition of knowledge assets as compared to their male counterparts.&nbsp; Of the three sub-indexes, Capability remains the strongest indicator of Asia Pacific women’s advancement towards gender parity for the 9<sup>th</sup> consecutive year. With the exception of Korea (85.9 points), the Capability index scores for all Asia Pacific countries are above 90.0.<br> <br> In New Zealand, Thailand and the Philippines, gender parity scores of 100.0 in Capability have been achieved and maintained consistently for 9 consecutive years; suggesting women in these countries are a on par with their male counterparts in terms of basic and advanced knowledge assets. Strength in Capability is also evident in emerging Vietnam (score of 100.0 achieved for the 6<sup>th</sup> years since 2010).&nbsp; The index scores for Capability remain high in Malaysia and China with both markets scoring above 98.0 points. Marginal declines were observed in Indonesia (91.1, down 0.3 points), Taiwan (97.6, down 0.6 points) and China (98.4, down 0.5 points).<br> <br> <a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_2.png"><img width="556" height="278" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_2.png"><br> </a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_2.png"></a></p> <p>The steady progress achieved by women in the acquisition of knowledge assets through the pursuit of secondary and tertiary-level education is reflected in the increasing proportion of female-to-male education enrolment rate. The results show that out of the 16 Asia Pacific markets, the number of women in 10 markets outnumbers that of men in terms of tertiary gross enrolment rate. This is most prominent in New Zealand where the female-to-male tertiary GER ratio is the highest at 146.3 in 2015 (2007: 144.8), followed by Australia at 135.3 (2007: 129.1), the Philippines at 130.8 (2007: 124.5) and Malaysia at 128.7 (2007: 120.5). In fact, in the Philippines, Thailand, New Zealand and Vietnam, women outnumber men in GER for both secondary and tertiary education. This suggests that across the region, women are becoming increasingly more educated than their male counterparts, a progress that was echoed during the recent World Entrepreneurship Forum where it was noted that women entrepreneurs have progressed to become ‘more educated’ than men<sup><a href="#5">5</a></sup>, although the opportunities for women to attain their full potential is still lacking in terms of having the chance to utilize their knowledge assets to advance further in life through the pursuit of career or participation in business ventures.</p> Employment<p>As an indicator of Workforce Participation and Regular Employment, the Employment sub-index measures the female to male ratio of participation in economic activity and access to regular employment.&nbsp; The results show Employment remaining as the second strongest sub-index over the 9-year period from 2007 to 2015 with 4 markets scoring higher than 90.0 points: New Zealand (91.3), China (91.2), Australia (90.8) and Taiwan (90.2).&nbsp; With the exception of Indonesia (78.4), the Philippines (76.5) and Malaysia (75.9), women across most of Asia Pacific are making some progress towards being as economically active as their male counterparts, scoring above the 80-point mark.&nbsp; Specifically, Taiwanese women advanced the most from the previous year, gaining 0.4 points to 90.2, surpassing the 90-point mark for the first time since 2007.<br> <a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_3.png" target="_blank"><img width="552" height="276" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_3.png"></a><br> <b><i><br> Women in New Zealand: Economically Active but Poor Work Life Balance </i></b><br> With an Employment gender parity score of 91.3, women in New Zealand are the most active in terms of workforce participation and regular employment. However, MasterCard’s latest <i>Well Being Index Results</i> (2014H2) suggest that despite making progress in employment, women in New Zealand are generally pessimistic over their ‘Present Life Situation’ (56.8 points) due to various work-related factors such as poor ‘Work-life Balance’ (61.3) and poor outlook of employment (50.0) and income prospects (67.4) in the next 6 months.&nbsp; The survey also highlights women facing high levels of stress both at work (55.2) and in the family (45.3), leading to a low “Personal Well Being” index score of 54.8 points.<br> <br> <a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_4.png" target="_blank"><img width="559" height="279" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_4.png"></a><br> <br> <a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_5.png" target="_blank"><img width="551" height="341" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_5.png"></a> </p> Leadership<p><b><i>Leadership continues to be the weakest link in women’s advancement</i></b></p> <p>As a measurement of the female-to-male ratio in business ownership, business leadership and political participation, the Leadership sub-index reflects women’s progress in the business, economic and political sectors as compared to their male counterparts.&nbsp; Of the 3 main sub-indexes, Leadership remained the weakest from the previous year (and also over the 9-year period) with New Zealand (50.6) and the Philippines (50.1) being the only two countries having more than 50 women business/government leaders for every 100 male business/government leaders.&nbsp; The latest results also indicate that the ratio of female-to-male Thai business/government leaders has declined markedly from 33.5 to 23.7, while that in Singapore picked up slightly from 40.9 to 41.5. <br> <br> <a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_6.png" target="_blank"><img width="555" height="278" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_6.png"></a><br> <br> <b><i>Filipino women: Advancement in Leadership &amp; Sense of Empowerment</i></b></p> <p>Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia show the most marked advancement in women’s leadership since 2007, gaining 12.2, 8.7 and 7.5 index points, respectively.&nbsp; Specifically, the results show that Filipino women have exceled the most in politics with the number of female-to-male politician ratio doubling from 18.2 in 2007 to 37.3 in 2015.<br> <br> This advancement made by Filipino women in business and political leadership is mirrored in MasterCard’s latest Women’s Well Being Index results (2014H2) whereby the score for the “Voice” component is among the highest in Asia Pacific – voice being an indication of how much women perceive their opinion are valued at home, at work and among their social network and how empowered they feel in general.&nbsp; In fact, the survey shows the overall Well Being Index score for women in the Philippines to have improved markedly from 57.3 points in 2014H1 to 68.6 in 2014H2. This has been buttressed by an increase in the assessment of their life situation in the next 5 years (76.6 points compared to 73.3 in the previous 2014H1 survey).<br> <br> <a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_7.png" target="_blank"><img width="556" height="349" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_7.png"></a><br> <br> <b><i>Singaporean women advancing in Business Ownership</i></b></p> <p><b><i></i></b>Singaporean women have also made commendable progress in Business ownership over the last 9 years, with the proportion of female-to-male business owners increasing from 29.9 in 2007 to 42.1.&nbsp; <br> </p> <p><b><i></i></b>&nbsp;<a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_8.png" target="_blank"><img width="555" height="278" src="http://livemcm.mastercard.com/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_8.png"></a><br> In Thailand, a significant drop in the proportion of female-to-male political leaders is observed with the score dropping from 18.6 in 2014 to only 6.5 in 2015. &nbsp;In contrast, the ratio of Thai women-to-men business leaders has increased from 42.3 in 2007 to 62.7 in 2015.<br> <br> <img width="555" height="409" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_9.png"><br> <br> For most of the markets across the region, the score in Leadership remain largely unchanged: Hong Kong (29.7), Japan (14.7), Korea (19.2), Taiwan (28.4, down 0.3), Malaysia (20.5, up 0.2), China (28.7, down 0.1) and Vietnam (35.2). <br> </p> 2.1 Insight to Women's Advancement in Japan<p>With an overall index score of 48.8, Japan is the lowest ranked market in Asia Pacific in terms of women’s advancement towards gender parity, lagging behind their regional peers across all 3 sub-indexes: Employment score of 83.3 compared to regional average of 84.9, Capability score of 94.8 versus regional average of 96.9, and Leadership score of 14.7 versus regional average of 32.2.&nbsp; In terms of participation as business owners, business leaders or political leaders, Japanese women advanced the least in the region with the score of 14.7 (the lowest), picking up only 0.7 points over the 9-year period since 2007.<br> <br> <a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_10.png" target="_blank"><img width="550" height="405" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_10.png"></a></p> <p>There are various factors that have contributed to the lower than regional average Employment score of 83.3 for Japan. Despite Japanese women being fairly highly educated (capability score of 94.8), entrenched cultural bias has inculcated a deep-rooted expectation that after marriage and birth of their children, Japanese women usually give up their career and remain in the house as the primary caretakers of the family and household. This is compounded by working conditions that are not always suited or appealing to women (married or single), especially in traditional Japanese companies where working hours are long, often stretching past midnight followed by sessions of “nominication” – a play on the Japanese word for drinking “nomu” and the English word “communication” where business connections and reputations are built. According to data from the OECD (2012), Japanese women’s participation in the labor force is around 63%, far lower than in other developed countries. Furthermore, once women have their first child, nearly 70% of them stop working for a decade or more, compared with just 30% in America<sup><a href="#6">6</a></sup>.<br> <br> <a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_11.png"><img width="554" height="277" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_11.png"></a><br> <br> The dire lack of progress and need to help bolster Japanese women’s progress in society is acknowledged and supported by Prime Minister Abe who committed USD3 billion (over 3 years) to women’s empowerment initiatives at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2014. Speaking at the recent <i>World Assembly for Women (WAW) </i><i>symposium<sup><a href="#7">7</a></sup> </i>held in Tokyo in September 2014, Prime Minister Abe highlighted some of the Japan’s key areas of focus related to women, including:<br> </p> <ul> <li>working together with private industries to increase women’s participation in society;</li> <li>fostering environments that make it amicable to balance child care and nursing care with work so that women are able to participate in the workforce more actively; and</li> <li>eliminating biases about women’s role that still exist in society by cultivating an environment that encourages and mobilizes women to be more economically- and business-driven.</li> </ul> <p>However, it is likely that many hurdles – corporate, social and political in nature - will hinder Japanese women’s stride towards achieving gender parity and social advancement. Although acknowledged and included in government policies as part of the country’s socioeconomic reform, numerous challenges prevail, such as: (i) resistance by corporate firms to extend maternity leave from 18 months to 3 years; (ii) preference for Japanese firm to hire males for management roles and females for clerical-type work; (iii)&nbsp; stalemate in meeting the 30% women in leadership roles by 2020 - a target that was first proposed in 2003 by then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi; and (iv) and the lack of trust of daycare centers and preference for foreign nannies which is making it difficult for working mothers to pursue their careers<sup><a href="#8">8</a></sup>.<br> <br> Results from a 2011 regional study conducted by McKinsey highlight that just 4.5% of corporate division heads were female (up from 1.2% in 1989), and of the most senior, executive-committee-level managers in Japan, only 1.0% were women. This is in stark contrast to much more progressive figures attained in China (9.0%) and Singapore (15.0%)<sup><a href="#9">9</a></sup>. The study also highlighted that few Japanese women hold professional, technical or managerial roles with the majority (77%) of them making up part-time and temporary work positions.<br> <br> <b><i>MasterCard Women’s Well Being Index Suggests Poor Regard for Personal Well Being Among Japanese Women</i></b><br> <br> The lackluster progress towards gender parity by Japanese women is mirrored in the results from MasterCard’s latest Women’s Well Being Index Survey (2014H2) which shows a very poor regard for wellbeing among Japanese women. In particular, we observe a marked deterioration in their outlook for future prospects in Regular Income (down 16.2 points to 32.6) and Employment (down 8.4 points to 42.9).&nbsp; The survey also show Japanese women regarding their ‘Safety from Threats’ to be very poor (decline in score from 47.3 to 45.2 points). Similarly, Japanese women’s perception of their ‘Personal Well Being’ and ‘Satisfaction over life’ is substandard (51.8 and 51.1, respectively).<br> <br> <a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_12.png" target="_blank"><img width="554" height="363" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_12.png"></a></p> 2.2 Insight to Women's Advancement in Thailand<p><b><i>Score for Leadership Declined</i></b></p> <p>With an index score of 59.4, Thailand is ranked 9<sup>th</sup> overall in the region with scores for Employment (88.1) and Capability (100) remaining unchanged from the previous survey, while that for Leadership having declined by 9.8 points to 23.7.&nbsp; Specifically, there was a marked decline in the female-to-male ratio of political leaders from 18.6 in 2014 to 6.5. This may be due to the May 2014 ousting of the former female Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra which led to the subsequent decline in the number of female political officials holding political positions. Prior to her removal from political power, there was a substantial increase in female&nbsp; representation in Thai politics from 2008 to 2011 with Thai women making up 15% of Members of Parliament (MPs), 16% of senators and 17% of senior civil service positions in 2011 compared to only 9.4% of elected officials in 2008. It has been noted that the root of the problem of the country’s low women representation in politics resides in the recruitment process whereby women are actually prevented to put their names on the ballots. In the few cases where they are actually elected, they are usually related to a network of male politicians (e.g. Yingluck, sister of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra)<sup><a href="#10">10</a></sup>.<br> <br> <a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_13.png" target="_blank"><img width="555" height="278" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_13.png"></a></p> <p><b><i>Perception of Overall Wellbeing in Life Strengthened</i></b><br> Despite a low advancement score of 59.4 points, Thai women are feeling positive in terms of their overall wellbeing in life. This is reflected in MasterCard’s Women’s Well Being Women’s Survey results which suggest Thai women’s perception of their wellbeing has improved markedly from 59.8 points in 2014H1 to 69.6 points in 2014H2. In fact, the results indicate an increase in scores for all 5 components measured: ‘Work &amp; Finances’ (up 2.3 points to 74.2), ‘Safety from Threats’ (up 1.9 points to 62.3), ‘Satisfaction in Life’ (2.6 points to 72.9), ‘Personal Well Being’ (up 2.1 points to 68.0) and ‘Voice’ (up 0.7 points to 70.5). The Well Being Survey also shows that Thai women who are employed are generally optimistic about their ‘Regular Income’ (84.2) and ‘Employment’ (81.5) prospects over the next 6 months.<br> <br> <a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_14.png" target="_blank"><img width="556" height="200" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_14.png"></a> </p> 2.3. Summary of Results: Asia Pacific<p style="text-align: center;"><i>Solid traction towards gender parity in Capability in New Zealand, Thailand, Philippines &amp; Vietnam;</i></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><i>Optimism in Well Being observed in India, Indonesia, Philippines &amp; Vietnam&nbsp;&nbsp;</i></p> <p>In summary, the progress towards gender parity among women in Asia Pacific is sluggish, especially in the areas of business leadership, business ownership and political participation. Although women are generally well-educated (and in some markets such as the Philippines, Thailand and New Zealand better educated than males), when it comes to choosing between pursuing a career or remaining in the household as primary caretakers, women tend to opt for the latter due to overpowering factors such as deep-rooted traditions and culture beliefs and less-than-conducive corporate work conditions such as excessively long working hours.&nbsp; This is especially prominent in Thailand and Japan.</p> <p></p> <p>Notwithstanding the slow progress achieved by Asia Pacific women towards gender parity, women in markets such as Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand are showing greater optimism on their overall wellbeing in life with Indonesia advancing the most (Well Being Index score gaining 20 points from 2014H1 to 74.3 in 2014H2), positioning them as the most satisfied (Rank 1) among their regional peers. Thai women also appear to be much more positive about their wellbeing in life with their Well Being Index score gaining 9.8 points from the previous survey to 69.6 points.&nbsp;</p> <p></p> 3. SOUTH ASIA<sup>11</sup><p>Women in all 5 South Asian markets continue to advance, with the overall index scores improving from 2013. The largest increase in advancement score is observed in Nepal (up 35.7 points to 71.8) due to the representation of women in politics (there were no female politicians in Nepal in the previous year). In fact, of the 5 markets in South Asia, Nepalese women made the most progress towards gender parity in terms of political participation.&nbsp; In contrast, women in Pakistan advanced the least in business and politics (Leadership score of only 3.5) and in labor force participation (Employment score of 41.4, the lowest in the region), placing them in the lowest rank in South Asia.<br> <br> <a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_15.png"><img width="555" height="275" src="http://livemcm.mastercard.com/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_15.png"></a></p> Employment<p>South Asian women’s progress towards gender parity in terms of labor force participation and regular employment remains sluggish. With a score of 96.0 (unchanged from the previous year), Nepal has the highest Employment score in the region, followed by Bangladesh (83.3, up 0.3 points), India (59.8, unchanged), Sri Lanka (46.2, up 0.1 points) and Pakistan (41.4, up 0.4 points and lowest in South Asia).</p> <p>It is encouraging to note that Nepalese women are achieving greater success towards attaining gender parity in ‘Regular Employment’: for every 100 men, there are 100.1 women having regular employment.&nbsp; In terms of ‘Workforce Participation’, the score is also high: 92.2 women for every 100 men.<br> <br> <a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_16.png" target="_blank"><img width="554" height="277" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_16.png"></a><br> <br> In Pakistan, the women’s participation in the workforce remains discouragingly low at 41.4.&nbsp; The results indicate that for every 100 men, just over one-quarter (28.6) of their female counterparts are working.&nbsp; <br> <br> <a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_17.png" target="_blank"><img width="556" height="278" src="http://livemcm.mastercard.com/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_17.png"></a> </p> Capability<p><b><i>Nepalese women becoming more educated &amp; are increasingly entering the workforce&nbsp;</i></b></p> <p>Within South Asia, the sub-index of Capability continues to be the strongest among the 3 components measured.&nbsp; Specifically, women in Sri Lanka outshine their regional peers in terms of gender parity towards the acquisition of basic and advanced knowledge assets relative to men – this is reflected through the score of 100.0 for the 7<sup>th</sup> consecutive year. Similarly, Nepalese women show impressive strides in enrolment for secondary and tertiary education with the Capability score rising from 90.0 the previous year to 93.5 (up 47% since 2007). This is consistent with their high score of 96.0 in Employment, suggesting that Nepalese women have more opportunities to utilize their knowledge assets to contribute towards the economy and society. <br> <br> <a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_18.png" target="_blank"><img width="555" height="276" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_18.png"></a> </p> Leadership<p>The latest women’s advancement index for Leadership shows that with the exception of Nepal, most of the women in South Asia are making slow progress in business and political representation.&nbsp; In Nepal, we observe a significant jump in Leadership score from 5.5 the previous year to a much more encouraging score of 41.2 – this is due to the increase in female-to-male ratio of political leaders (there were no female politicians in Nepal in 2014).&nbsp; In terms of business ownership, Nepalese women have the highest representation in the region (72.4 women out of every 100 men) compared to their regional peers (Sri Lanka at 13.4, India at 13.2, Bangladesh at 11.7 and Pakistan at 0.5).<br> <br> <a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_19.png" target="_blank"><img width="555" height="409" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_19.png"></a><br> In India, we observe slight progress made in Business Leadership (up from 26.3 female per 100 male business leaders to 27.6 in 2015) and Political Leadership (up from 12.2 females per 100 male politicians to 13.1 in 2015).<br> <br> <a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_20.png"><img width="555" height="390" src="http://livemcm.mastercard.com/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_20.png"></a><br> <br> <b><i>Indian women optimistic over wellbeing</i></b></p> <p>Despite the lack of progress made in workforce participation (59.8, no change) and the attainment of basic and advanced knowledge assets (85.7, no change), Indian women are still positive over their wellbeing in life.&nbsp; As shown in the MasterCard <i>Women’s</i> Well Being Index (2014H2), Indian women’s regard for their wellbeing in life increased from 69.6 in 2014H1 to 73.3, placing them 2<sup>nd</sup> in ranking among the 16 markets surveyed and trailing only Indonesia at 74.3. This had been underpinned by gains across all 5 major components measured: Work &amp; Finances (up 4.5 points to 72.2), ‘Safety from Threats’ (up 5.3 points to 72.8), ‘Satisfaction’ (up 3.6 points to 74.1), ‘Personal Well Being’ (up 3.1 to 73.7) and ‘Voice’ (up 2.0 points to 73.6).&nbsp;&nbsp; The results show that apart from the challenges in saving for big item purchases (41.4), Indian women are optimistic about their welfare at home, as well as the society and the economy.&nbsp; This is reflected through their high scores for income (91.2) and employment (94.1) prospects, satisfaction with present and future life situation (75.2 and 75.4, respectively) and Work-Life balance (73.9). Indian womens’ ability to deal with stress levels is also commendable: family stress (71.2), work stress (77), health (72.1) and financial stress (74.4).<br> <br> <a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_21.png" target="_blank"><img width="557" height="345" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_21.png"></a><br> <br> They are also particularly more resilient as compared to their regional peers in terms of their perception of ‘Safety from threats’.&nbsp; This is demonstrated by their high scores for Violent Crime (74.7), Financial Crime (73.1), Cyber Crime (70.7), Disease Outbreak (71.9) and Natural Disaster/Pollution (73.5).<br> <br> In contrast, Pakistani women’s participation in both business and politics is significantly lower. This is especially evident in business ownership and leadership: for every 100 male business owners, there are only 0.5 female business owners and 3.5 female business leaders.&nbsp; When it comes to political representation, the results are slightly more encouraging (24.5) with approximately one female politician&nbsp; for every four men.&nbsp; This is unsurprising, given that Pakistani women’s participation in the workforce is also very low (score of 41.4).&nbsp; This apparent lack of progress in Leadership and Employment is immensely discouraging given that the women in the country have become more educated compared to their male counterparts - since 2009, the number of women who have attained tertiary education have steadily risen from 84.2 to 117.0 in 2015. This gender gap suggests persistent cultural bias towards women.<br> <br> <a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_22.png"><img width="555" height="409" src="http://livemcm.mastercard.com/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2015/WomensAdvancement/miwa_22.png"></a></p> 3.1 Insight to Women's Advancement in Nepal<p style="text-align: center;"><b><i>Highly Literate but hindered by family obligations: A cause of economic inactiveness among Nepalese women</i></b></p> <p><br> The case of women’s progress towards gender equality in Nepal is interesting.&nbsp; Of the 5 South Asian markets, Nepal’s score for Women’s Advancement is the highest at 71.8 points. This effectively places it ahead of most developed countries in Asia Pacific: Hong Kong (63.2), Singapore (70.5), Japan (48.8), South Korea (51.6) and Taiwan (63.0).&nbsp; Specifically, we observe the scores for ‘Employment’ (96.0) and ‘Capability’ (93.5) for Nepalese women to be the highest compared to their South Asian peers.</p> <p></p> <p>There are several factors inhibiting their progress towards to achieving full potential in society. First, family obligations appear to be a major hindrance to Nepalese women’s progress towards achieving gender equality in terms of economic participation.&nbsp; According to data from the country’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), 83% of Nepalese who have chosen not to work or are making minimal contributions to the labor market are ‘literate’. . The CBS report also highlights that at least 33.3% of those who belong in the economically inactive or partially active population cited ‘household duties’ as the key reason for not being able to join the labor force.&nbsp; Of this cohort, a significant 95% are females who obligated to look after children and attend to household chores. Nepal is predominantly a male dominated society, many females are not granted equal opportunities<sup><a href="#12">12</a></sup>.</p> <p>Apart from this, the second reason why Nepalese women do not have equal representation in Employment and Capability stems from the large income gap that exists in the country.&nbsp; A recent World Economic Forum (WEF) report shows that while the number of men and women working in the country is nearly at par, female workers are only commanding around 60% of the wage that their male counterparts are receiving<sup><a href="#13">13</a></sup>. According to date from the Global Gender Gap Report 2014, Nepal is ranked 16<sup>th</sup> best in the world with a female-to-male labor force ratio of 0.93 (93 out of every 100 working men), surpassing countries like the Philippines and Thailand. However, in terms of income prowess between working men and women, Nepal is ranked significantly lower at 93<sup>rd</sup> position with men earning an average annual income of USD2,873 based on purchasing power parity (PPP) compared to USD1,503 for women, effectively placing the female-to-male wage equality ratio at 0.62.</p> 3.2 Summary of Results: South Asia<p>In general, we observe progress towards gender parity among South Asian women to be largely sluggish. With the exception of Nepal, women are mostly economically inactive and lack political empowerment.&nbsp; This is reflected in the low ‘Employment’ scores in India (59.8), Sri Lanka (46.2) and Pakistan (41.4) and extremely low ‘Leadership’ scores of 3.5 in Pakistan, 12.1 in Bangladesh, 16.8 in India and 14.5 in Sri Lanka.&nbsp;&nbsp; Within the region, Nepal remains the strongest market with an overall index score of 71.8, an achievement that is mostly attributed to their much stronger leadership participation score of 41.2 as compared to their South Asian peers. <br> <br> In India, it is observed that notwithstanding the lack of progress made by women in Employment and Capability, Indian women are still optimistic over their wellbeing in life.&nbsp; We noted that this may be attributed to their higher resilience with regards to threats (the score for Safety from threats is high at 72.8), satisfaction with present and future life situation, and ability to deal with stress at home and at work.</p> 4. Conclusion<p><a name="2"></a>The results from the 2015 MasterCard Index of Women’s Advancement (MIWA) underscore the incremental steps made by women towards gender parity in Capability (knowledge assets). Efforts made by women in South Asia are especially commendable, as is reflected in the increase in Capability scores in Bangladesh (up 1.1 point to 87.6), Nepal (up 3.5 points to 93.5<a name="3"></a>) and Pakistan (up 1.2 points to 89.2).&nbsp; In Asia Pacific, women’s solid traction towards gender parity in basic and advanced knowledge is promising in the markets of Philippines, Thailand, New Zealand and Vietnam where Capability scores of 100 have been achieved consecutively since 2007 (2009 for Vietnam).<br> <br> We highlighted the key challenges women face in societies that are male-dominated, such as employment discrimination, income gender gap and a deeply entrenched cultural bias against women working, which may have overtime inculcated a certain degree of complacency or lack of ambition in women – a factor that may explain the discrepancy between the relatively high scores for Capability (education) and Employment (workforce participation).&nbsp; This is observed in both emerging markets such as Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, and in developed markets such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, New Zealand and Australia where the scores for Capability supersedes that of Employment.<br> <br> Progress towards gender equality in Business and Political Leadership continues to be the stalemate faced by the majority of women in Asia Pacific and South Asia. With the exception of Australia (49.7), Singapore (41.5), Philippines (50.1), New Zealand (50.6) and Nepal (41.2), the Leadership scores for the remaining markets remain discouragingly low. Over the course of 2014, we observed how the removal of Prime Minister Yingluck from office has imparted an adverse effect on Thai women’s progress in business and political leadership (Leadership score declined markedly from 33.5 to 23.7).<br> <br> Drawing on results from MasterCard’s latest 2014H2 Women’s Well Being Index which provided a snapshot of women’s attitudes and perception of their wellness in life, we observed that despite the slow incremental steps made by women towards gender parity, their overall regard for wellbeing in life remains intact.&nbsp; This is especially pronounced in markets such as India where women display significantly higher resilience in life, such as their perception of safety from threats, personal wellbeing, satisfaction in life, and ability to deal with financial stress and stress at home and at home. We also noted the opposite to be true: in markets such as Japan and South Korea where women’s progress towards gender parity is especially laggard (such as in leadership), their perception of wellbeing in life is also poor.<br> <br> <i><a name="1"></a>[1] Markets in the Middle East &amp; African region are no longer covered in this survey<br> <a name="2"></a>[2] Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2012 Women’s Report<br> <a name="3"></a>[3] MasterCard Well Being Index 2014H2 is based on a bi-annual survey conducted between Oct &amp; Nov ’14 on 8,235 respondents aged 18-64 across 16 markets in Asia/Pacific. It is designed to provide a deeper insight to respondents’ attitudes and social advancement across 5 categories:&nbsp; “Work and Finances”, “Safety from Threats”, “Personal and Work Satisfaction”, “Personal Well Being” and “Sense of Empowerment”.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br> <a name="4"></a>[4] The Asia/Pacific region includes Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam.<br> <a name="5"></a>[5] World Entrepreneurship Forum 2013, Melinda Emerson, <a target="_blank" href="http://womenentrepreneursgrowglobal.org/tag/global-entrepreneurship-monitor/">http://womenentrepreneursgrowglobal.org/tag/global-entrepreneurship-monitor/</a><br> <a name="6"></a>[6] “Holding back half the nation”, The Economist, 29 March 2014<br> <a name="7"></a>[7] </i><i>World Assembly for Women (WAW) Tokyo September 2014, Nikkei Asian Review<br> <a name="8"></a>[8] Georges Desvaux, head of McKinsey’s Tokyo office quoted in “Holding back half the nation”, The Economist, 29 March 2014<br> <a name="9"></a>[9] Quoted in “Holding back half the nation”, The Economist, 29 March 2014<br> <a name="10"></a>[10] “Gender and Politics: Can Thai women break down political barriers?”, 11 Nov 2014, Available Online.<br> <a name="11"></a>[11] The 5 markets in South Asia are Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka<br> <a name="12"></a>[12] ‘83% of economically inactive people literate’, International Employment Today, 15 Jan 2015, [Available Online]<br> <a target="_blank" href="http://employment.einnews.com/article/244652225/tEIneVITjkANp2QG">http://employment.einnews.com/article/244652225/tEIneVITjkANp2QG</a><br> <a name="13"></a>[13] ‘Workforce of men‚ women same but wages different’, World Economic Forum Report, Quoted in International Employment Today, 28 Oct 2014, [Available Online] <a target="_blank" href="http://employment.einnews.com/article/231628081/CCigi8qYSXGBIOmG">http://employment.einnews.com/article/231628081/CCigi8qYSXGBIOmG</a></i></p> The 2015 Index of Women’s Advancement marks the 9th series of MasterCard’s effort in tracking the progress of women towards gender parity based on Employment (Workforce Participation and Regular Employment), Capability (Secondary and Tertiary Education), and Leadership (Business Owners, Business Leaders and Political Leaders). The results reveal that the progress made by women towards gender parity in the majority of the 16 markets in Asia Pacific is sluggish with the large gaps in Leadership and to a lesser extent, Employment, remaining prevalent and an ongoing area of concern. http://www1.mastercard.com/content/intelligence/en/research/reports/2015/mastercard-index-of-womens-advancement2015-02-26T16:00:00.000Z2015-02-26T16:00:00.000ZMore Women Perceiving themselves as holding the household’s purse strings: MasterCard NOTE TO EDITORS<p><b><i>This news release is distributed with the table below that shows the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement by market. The full report can be found at the website <a href="http://www.mastercard-masterindex.com/">www.masterintelligence.com</a></i></b></p> <p><b><i>Slides on the report can be found at </i></b><b><i><a href="http://www.slideshare.net/MasterCardNews" target="_blank">http://www.slideshare.net/MasterCardNews</a> </i></b><b><u></u></b></p> MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement <p><b><u>Asia/Pacific</u></b></p> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="1" border="1"> <tbody><tr><th class="table-description">Market</th> <th class="table-description">2007</th> <th class="table-description">2008</th> <th class="table-description">2009</th> <th class="table-description">2010</th> </tr><tr><td><b>Australia </b></td> <td>85.05</td> <td>78.47</td> <td>99.45</td> <th class="table-description">87.50</th> </tr><tr><td><b>China </b></td> <td>89.85</td> <td>79.15</td> <td>93.44</td> <th class="table-description">90.88</th> </tr><tr><td><b>Hong Kong </b></td> <td>86.86</td> <td>87.82</td> <td>84.42</td> <th class="table-description">80.62</th> </tr><tr><td><b>India </b></td> <td>54.05</td> <td>57.02</td> <td>70.12</td> <th class="table-description">81.46</th> </tr><tr><td><b>Indonesia </b></td> <td>77.78</td> <td>79.62</td> <td>75.29</td> <th class="table-description">96.79</th> </tr><tr><td><b>Japan </b></td> <td>70.75</td> <td>72.40</td> <td>72.19</td> <th class="table-description">66.26</th> </tr><tr><td><b>South Korea </b></td> <td>68.36</td> <td>62.63</td> <td>69.95</td> <th class="table-description">81.09</th> </tr><tr><td><b>Malaysia </b></td> <td>70.30</td> <td>71.80</td> <td>66.96</td> <th class="table-description">93.51</th> </tr><tr><td><b>New Zealand </b></td> <td>103.52</td> <td>83.79</td> <td>96.30</td> <th class="table-description">97.37</th> </tr><tr><td><b>Philippines </b></td> <td>100.83</td> <td>95.87</td> <td>72.04</td> <th class="table-description">86.15</th> </tr><tr><td><b>Singapore </b></td> <td>88.23</td> <td>86.51</td> <td>102.21</td> <th class="table-description">79.11</th> </tr><tr><td><b>Taiwan </b></td> <td>88.30</td> <td>81.91</td> <td>71.40</td> <th class="table-description">75.65</th> </tr><tr><td><b>Thailand </b></td> <td>82.89</td> <td>82.62</td> <td>97.91</td> <th class="table-description">97.36</th> </tr><tr><td><b>Vietnam </b></td> <td>88.19</td> <td>88.67</td> <td>86.69</td> <th class="table-description">76.59</th> </tr><tr><td><b>Asia/Pacific </b></td> <td>83.72</td> <td>79.24</td> <td>84.47</td> <th class="table-description">85.57</th> </tr></tbody></table> <p><i>The Index figure shows how close or how far women in each market are achieving socioeconomic parity with men. A score under 100 indicates gender inequality in favor of males while a score above 100 indicates inequality in favor of females. A score of 100 indicates equality between the sexes. </i><b><u></u></b></p> MasterCard and Women <p>MasterCard is committed to empowering women through initiatives such as its U21 Global Scholarship for Women in Travel and Tourism, which was launched in 2006 to provide working women professionals a program to develop their leadership skills and realize their full potential in the area of travel and tourism. The program comprises scholarships given out for the U21Global Executive Diploma of Business Administration that can articulate into The University of Nottingham MSc in Tourism and Travel Management.</p> <p>MasterCard has also devoted extensive resources to developing a deeper understanding of the women's segment in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. It regularly releases consumer insights and trend research on women. These can be accessed at its online repository of proprietary research www.masterintelligence.com</p> MasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties <p>The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement is part of the MasterCard Worldwide Index suite of research products in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. The others include the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence and MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Purchasing Resilience.</p> <p>Besides these, MasterCard also regularly releases its Insights reports; the series is part its ongoing research and analysis of business dynamics, financial policies and regulatory activities in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. Over 60 Insights reports have been produced since 2004. MasterCard has also released a series of four books on Asian consumer insights, authored by its Asia/Pacific economist, Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong and published by John Wiley &amp; Sons.</p> <p>The MasterCard Indexes and Insights reports are available at <a href="http://www.masterintelligence.com">www.masterintelligence.com</a></p> About MasterCard Worldwide <p>MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical economic link among financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and merchants worldwide. &nbsp;As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard develops and markets payment solutions, processes over 22 billion transactions each year, and provides industry-leading analysis and consulting services to financial-institution customers and merchants. &nbsp;Powered by the MasterCard Worldwide Network and through its family of brands, including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus®, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. &nbsp;For more information go to <a href="http://www.mastercard.com" target="_blank">www.mastercard.com</a>. &nbsp;Follow us on Twitter:<a href="http://twitter.com/mastercardnews" target="_blank">@mastercardnews</a>.</p> Contacts<p>Eugenia Koh,<br> Weber Shandwick,<br> <a target="_blank" href="mailto:ekoh@webershandwick.com">ekoh@webershandwick.com</a><br> (65) 6825-8029</p> <p>Vani Viswanathan,<br> Weber Shandwick, <a target="_blank" href="mailto:vviswanathan@webershandwick.com"><br> vviswanathan@webershandwick.com</a><br> (65) 6825-8053</p> The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement is part of a sustained effort by MasterCard to measure the socioeconomic standing of women across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa.http://www1.mastercard.com/content/intelligence/en/research/press-release/2010/more-women-perceiving-themselves-as-holding-the-households-purse2010-03-01T16:00:00.000Z2010-03-01T16:00:00.000ZMastercard Index Of Women’s Advancement (Miwa) 2016 1. INTRODUCTION<p>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.</p> <p>Conducted for the 10<sup>th</sup> year, the <b>2016 MasterCard Index on Women’s Advancement (MIWA) </b>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.&nbsp;</p> <p></p> 2. ASIA PACIFIC<sup>1</sup><p style="text-align: center;"><i>Women on par with men in Capability in New Zealand, Philippines, China, Taiwan &amp; Thailand;<br> </i><i>Advancement in Leadership remains the biggest hurdle&nbsp;</i></p> <p>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).&nbsp; 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).</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/Asia_Pacific.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="524" height="237" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/Asia_Pacific.jpg"></a></p> <p></p> 2.1. Capability<p>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.&nbsp; 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).&nbsp; 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).&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/Indonesia.png"><img width="530" height="257" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/Indonesia.png"></a></p> <p>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.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/NewZealand.png"><img width="521" height="266" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/NewZealand.png"></a></p> <p>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.&nbsp; 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.</p> <table> <tbody><tr><th class="table-description" style="text-align: center;"><b>Market</b></th> <th class="table-description" style="text-align: center;"><b>Female GER in Tertiary Education </b></th> <th class="table-description" style="text-align: center;"><b>Male GER in Tertiary Education </b></th> </tr><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><b>China</b></td> <td style="text-align: center;">32.2</td> <td style="text-align: center;">27.9</td> </tr><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><b>Philippines</b></td> <td style="text-align: center;">37.9</td> <td style="text-align: center;">29.2</td> </tr><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><b>Vietnam</b></td> <td style="text-align: center;">23.6</td> <td style="text-align: center;">26.0</td> </tr><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><b>Malaysia</b></td> <td style="text-align: center;">44.2</td> <td style="text-align: center;">36.0</td> </tr><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><b>Indonesia</b></td> <td style="text-align: center;">34.9</td> <td style="text-align: center;">33.2</td> </tr></tbody></table> 2.2. Employment<p style="text-align: center;"><i>Women in developing markets undermined by lack of formal work;<br> </i><i>Labor shortage in Japan may reverse trend of low female workforce participation</i></p> <p>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’<sup><a href="#2">2</a></sup>&nbsp; and ‘Regular Employment’<sup><a href="#3">3</a></sup> . The results also underscore that in general, women’s progress in employment remains broadly stagnant across the region.</p> <p>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).&nbsp; 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.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/WorkforceParticipation.png"><img width="596" height="290" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/WorkforceParticipation.png"></a></p> <p></p> 2.2.1. Anticipated Reverse in Trend of Low Female Workforce Participation<p style="text-align: center;"><i>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.</i></p> <p>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 operations<sup><a href="#4">4</a></sup>. 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.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/CulturalChange.png" target="_blank"><img width="530" height="347" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/CulturalChange.png"></a></p> <p>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.&nbsp; 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 percent<sup><a href="#5">5</a></sup>.&nbsp;</p> <p>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 responsibility<sup><a href="#6">6</a></sup>. With the government’s recent multi-billion campaign that includes subsidies<sup><a href="#7">7</a></sup> to encourage more men to take paternity leave, this will hopefully allow more women to join the workforce in the future<sup><a href="#8">8</a></sup>.</p> <p></p> 2.2.2. Regular Employment<p>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 Women<sup><a href="#9">9</a></sup>.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/DevelopedDeveloping.png" target="_blank"><img width="495" height="261" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/DevelopedDeveloping.png"></a></p> 2.2.3. Case Study: Working Women in Singapore<p>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 gap<sup><a href="#10">10</a></sup>. 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).</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/Singapore.png"><img width="595" height="298" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/Singapore.png"></a></p> <p>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).&nbsp; In their book “The Three Paradoxes: Working Women in Singapore”, authors Lee, Campbell &amp; 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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/Paradox.png" target="_blank"><img width="436" height="281" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/Paradox.png"></a></p> <p>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 members<sup><a href="#11">11</a></sup>. 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.&nbsp;</p> <p>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.&nbsp; 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).</p> 2.3. Leadership<p style="text-align: center;"><i>Leadership remains the laggard in women’s stride towards gender parity</i></p> <p>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.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/Australia.png"><img width="546" height="273" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/Australia.png"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/Japan.png" target="_blank"><img width="550" height="275" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/Japan.png"></a></p> 3. SUMMARY OF RESULTS: ASIA PACIFIC <p style="text-align: center;"><i>New Zealand, Australia &amp; Philippines continue to hold the rein in women’s advancement;<br> Scores for all components broadly similar</i></p> <p>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.</p> <p>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’.&nbsp; 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. </p> 4. SOUTH ASIA<sup>12</sup><p>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.&nbsp; 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.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/MWIWA.png"><img width="461" height="231" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/MWIWA.png"></a></p> 4.1. Employment<p style="text-align: center;"><i>Women in Pakistan and India remain as the laggards</i></p> <p>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.&nbsp;</p> <p>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.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/India.png" target="_blank"><img width="567" height="275" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/India.png"></a></p> <p>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 workers<sup><a href="#13">13</a></sup>.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/Bangladesh.png" target="_blank"><img width="566" height="273" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/Bangladesh.png"></a></p> 4.1.1. Case Study: Unrealized Potential of Women’s Economic Contribution in Nepal<p>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.</p> <p>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 Nepal<sup><a href="#14">14</a></sup>. 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.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/ChallengesNepal.png" target="_blank"><img width="420" height="415" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/ChallengesNepal.png"></a></p> 4.2. Capability<p style="text-align: center;"><i>Women in Nepal on par with men for the first time in ‘Capability’;<br> Women comprise majority of graduates but minority of labor force</i></p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/Nepal.png" target="_blank"><img width="456" height="257" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/Nepal.png"></a></p> <p>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 politics<sup><a href="#15">15</a></sup>.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/SriLanka.png"><img width="502" height="254" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/SriLanka.png"></a></p> 4.3. Leadership<p>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).</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.&nbsp; </p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/ChallengesBusiness.png"><img width="537" height="196" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/reports/2016/MIWA2016/ChallengesBusiness.png"></a></p> 4.4. Summary of Results: South Asia<p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> 5. CONCLUSION<p>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).</p> <p>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 &amp; 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.&nbsp;</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p><b><u>Footnotes</u></b></p> <p><i>[1] 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.</i></p> <p><i><a name="2"></a>[2] ‘Workforce Participation’ is the percent of women aged 15 and above working formally or informally divided by the total female population.</i></p> <p><i><a name="3"></a>[3] ‘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.&nbsp; A low score suggests that regular formal job opportunities are les available for women than they are for men.&nbsp; 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.</i></p> <p><i><a name="4"></a>[4] “Lack of workers hobbles Japan’s growth”, The Wall Street Journal Online, 15 Nov 2015, [Available Online: http://www.wsj.com/asia ]</i></p> <p><i><a name="5"></a>[5] “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]</i></p> <p><i><a name="6"></a>[6] “South Korea’s ‘brave’ stay-home fathers”, Yahoo News Online, 14 Jan 2016, [Available Online: http://news.yahoo.com/south-koreas-brave-stay-home-fathers-035758918.html ]</i></p> <p><i><a name="7"></a>[7] This subsidy from the government is equivalent to 40 percent of the monthly income capped at 1.0 million won (USD840)</i></p> <p><i><a name="8"></a>[8] 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</i></p> <p><i><a name="9"></a>[9] UN Women, “Asia Pacific – Where we are”, [Available Online], http://www.unwomen.org/en/where-we-are/asia-and-the-pacific</i></p> <p><i><a name="10"></a>[10] “Five gender gaps Singapore women still face in 2015”, Straits Times, 8 Mar 2015.</i></p> <p><i><a name="11"></a>[11] “Five gender gaps Singapore women still face in 2015”, Straits Times, 8 Mar 2015.</i></p> <p><i><a name="12"></a>[12] The 5 markets in South Asia are Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka</i></p> <p><i><a name="13"></a>[13] 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</i></p> <p><i><a name="14"></a>[14] Coyle, D., Shrestha, R. &amp; 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.</i></p> <p><i><a name="15"></a>[15] “Women more educated than men but still paid less”, YaleGlobal Online, 6 Mar 2014, [Available Online: http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/women-more-educated-men-still-paid-less-men </i></p> The 2016 Index of Women’s Advancement marks the 10th series of MasterCard’s effort in tracking the progress of women towards gender parity based on Employment (Workforce Participation and Regular Employment), Capability (Secondary and Tertiary Education), and Leadership (Business Owners, Business Leaders and Political Leaders). The results reveal that despite more women than men in Asia Pacific having tertiary education, there still exists a large gender gap that hinders women from achieving their full economic potential be it through participation in the workforce or presence in leadership positions. http://www1.mastercard.com/content/intelligence/en/research/reports/2016/index-womens-advancement-20162016-03-02T16:00:00.000Z2016-03-02T16:00:00.000ZMastercard Women’s Entrepreneurial Index 2016 1. INTRODUCTION<p>The issue of women being marginalized and not afforded equal opportunities in the entrepreneurial sphere has long been publicized and reviewed. More recently, research focus has been increasingly pointing towards the need for greater economic inclusion of women as a lever to alleviating poverty and economic betterment, especially in developing markets. The International Labor Organization ’s revelation that there are 812 million women in these markets whose potential to contribute towards their economies as both employers and employees is yet to be unleashed is startling. As noted by author Jackie VanderBrug, women in emerging markets are reinvesting an astounding 90 cents of every additional dollar of income earned into the wellbeing of their family – education, health and nutrition<sup><a href="#1">1</a></sup>, a forceful message that when equipped with the right resources and opportunities, women’s contribution will contribute immensely to the socioeconomic betterment of their local and global communities and economies. However, there is no denial that the road to reducing gender equality in women entrepreneurship is long, harsh, uneven and gradual, riddled with challenges and hurdles some of which are already deeply ingrained into the modus operandi of societies, cultures and practices.</p> <p>As part of our continuous journey to better understand women’s progress and achievement in society, Mastercard has created the <b>Mastercard</b> <b>Women’s Entrepreneurial Index 2016 </b>to gauge female entrepreneurs’ ability to capitalize on opportunities granted through various supporting conditions within their local environments. The index also looks at how markets in the Asia Pacific region differ in terms of the level of women’s advancement and supporting entrepreneurial factors. Based on these observations, we are better able to identify which conditions are most conducive to women’s capabilities and performance as entrepreneurs.</p> <p>Spanning 16 key markets in the Asia Pacific region – Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam – the index is the weighted sum of two components: “<i>Level of Women’s Advancement and Entrepreneurial Factors</i>” and “<i>Supporting Conditions</i>”.&nbsp; These are in turn comprised of 10 indicators, all of which formulated to range from 0 (worst) to 100 (best). The Index, ranging from 0-100<sup><a href="#2">2</a></sup> (worst to best), is created based on data from Mastercard’s in-house research and external sources such as FINDEX, ILO, UNESCO and Inter Parliamentary Union, among others.</p> <p>The <i>“Level of Women’s Advancement and Entrepreneurial Factors” </i>component has a 60 percent weighting and includes five indicators that are geared towards measuring the degree of bias against women as workforce participants, political and business leaders, as well as the financial strength and entrepreneurial inclination of women. These indicators reflect how much or little progress women have achieved from various perspectives: economical, financial, social, political and entrepreneurial. The “<i>Supporting Conditions</i>” component has a 40 percent weighting and includes five indicators that gauge the degree of access women have to basic and advanced knowledge assets, access to basic financial services, women’s perception of safety levels and cultural perception of women’s household financial influence. These conditions provide the necessary underlying framework to foster and enhance women’s potential to advance as entrepreneurs.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <table> <tbody><tr><th class="table-description" style="text-align: center;">Overall Index</th> <th class="table-description" style="text-align: center;">Component (weight)</th> <th class="table-description" style="text-align: center;">Indicator (weight)</th> <th class="table-description" style="text-align: center;">Description (Source, Year of Data)</th> </tr><tr><td rowspan="10" style="vertical-align: middle;">Mastercard Women's Entre-preneurial Index</td> <td rowspan="5" style="text-align: center; vertical-align: middle;">Level of Women’s Advancement and Entre-preneurial Factors (60%)</td> <td>Female Workforce Participation Rate (12%)</td> <td>Measures the bias against women in the workforce (ILO, 2015)</td> </tr><tr><td>Women in Parliament as percent of all Parliament Members (12%)</td> <td>Measures the bias against women as political leaders (Inter Parliamentary union, 2015)</td> </tr><tr><td>Women Business Leaders as a &nbsp;percent of all Business Leaders (12%)</td> <td>Measures the bias against women as business leaders (ILO, 2015)</td> </tr><tr><td>&nbsp;percent of Females who Obtained Funds by Saving or Borrowing to Start, Operate, or Expand Business, Female Aged 15+ (12%)</td> <td style="vertical-align: middle;">Measures the ability of women to raise money to fund their business (FINDEX, 2014)</td> </tr><tr><td>&nbsp;percent of Females Inclined to Start Own Business Within The Next 5 Years (12%)</td> <td style="vertical-align: middle;">Measures the entrepreneurial inclination of women (Mastercard, 2015)</td> </tr><tr><td rowspan="5" style="text-align: center; vertical-align: middle;">Supporting Conditions (40%)</td> <td>Gross Enrollment Rate of Females in Tertiary Education (12%)</td> <td style="vertical-align: middle;">Access to <i>advanced</i> knowledge assets for women (UNESCO, 2015)</td> </tr><tr><td>Gross Enrollment Rate of Females in Secondary Education (12%)</td> <td style="vertical-align: middle;">Access to <i>basic</i> knowledge assets for women (UNESCO, 2015)</td> </tr><tr><td>&nbsp;percent of Females with a Debit Card Aged 15+ (12%)</td> <td>Proxy for the access to basic financial services for women (FINDEX, 2014)</td> </tr><tr><td style="vertical-align: middle;">Financial Influence of Women at Home (12%)</td> <td>Cultural perception of women’s financial influence in the household in terms of day to day budgeting, savings and investment, and the purchase of large ticket items (Mastercard, 2015)</td> </tr><tr><td>Perceived Safety from Threat of Violent and Financial Crime to females (12%)</td> <td style="vertical-align: middle;">How women perceive the level of safety within their local environment (Mastercard, 2015)</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p></p> <p></p> <p></p> 2. OVERVIEW OF KEY FINDINGS<p>The findings from the Mastercard Women’s Entrepreneurial Index underscore that <b>women</b> <b>entrepreneurship is progressing at different rates and in different ways across the 16 markets in Asia Pacific. </b>In markets such as New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Taiwan which are ranked 1st, 2<sup>nd</sup>, 5<sup>th</sup> and 6<sup>th</sup>, respectively, women entrepreneurship is largely driven by strong enabling conditions such as high opportunity to attain advanced knowledge assets and access to mainstream financial services. On the other hand, in Thailand and the Philippines which are ranked 3<sup>rd</sup> and 4<sup>th</sup> respectively, women’s progress as entrepreneurs is driven by higher levels of women’s advancement and entrepreneurship factors such as business leadership and politician representation as opposed to enabling conditions.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/WomenEntrepreneurIndexGraph.png"><img width="585" height="246" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/WomenEntrepreneurIndexGraph.png"></a></p> <p>Interpretation of the Index scores reveal that in relation to the other markets in Asia Pacific, the supporting conditions and level of advancement in women’s entrepreneurship in New Zealand (score of 53.9 points) are nearly two times more favorable/higher than those in Bangladesh (score of 27.0 points).&nbsp; Given that the scores may theoretically never reach the maximum of the 0–100 point scale (100 being the highest), the index scores effectively suggest that on a regional basis, the underlying enabling conditions for women entrepreneurship are the most nurturing in the markets of New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Philippines and Singapore where the overall Index scores are all above 50 points. At the lower end of the scale, the findings show that relative to their peers, the conditions that foster female entrepreneurship are the least favorable or conducive in the lowest ranked markets of Bangladesh (27.0), Sri Lanka (32.7) and India (33.3).</p> <p>The Index also reveals that while markets with scores of between 40 to 50 points are closely ranked, they differ at the component level. While markets such as New Zealand and Australia have stronger supporting conditions than their ASEAN peers such as Thailand and Philippines, they are weaker in terms of the level of women’s advancement and entrepreneurial factors.&nbsp;</p> 2.1. Expectations of Women’s Progress as Entrepreneurs<p>There is a positive correlation between women business ownership and the Index scores as depicted by the upward curving line in the chart below. This ‘<i>line of best fit’ </i>or<i> ‘index trend line</i>’ represents each market’s respective Index score plotted against the percentage of women business owners. The upward slope suggests that in general, markets that had higher Index scores tend to have a higher percentage of business owners.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/WomenBusinessOwners.png"><img width="501" height="278" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/WomenBusinessOwners.png"></a></p> <p>The chart shows that markets residing <i>above the trend line</i> such as Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, China and Bangladesh are performing better than expected given the degree of supporting conditions and level of advancement in their respective environments. This implies that compared to their regional peers below the trend line such as Taiwan, Malaysia and India, female entrepreneurs in Australia and Singapore are relatively more capable of rising above the restrictions and challenges in their local environments through other means and avenues such as better networks, social support, and funding alternatives. They may also possess more superior or refined social and interpersonal skills (e.g. negotiation, business presentation), or are able to garner greater support from family and social circles. Compared to their peers, female entrepreneurs in these markets may be able to source for more business opportunities that are not localized.</p> <p>For instance, women in China may be better placed than women in India in terms of their ability to access and utilize e-commerce as a platform for sourcing and conducting business – a trend that has been realized through the influence of the government and private sector in working towards connecting the nation through the Internet and other information and communications technologies. This has brought about the emergence of more Chinese women entrepreneurs (29.0 percent) than what the expected level of conditions would have brought. Similarly in Australia, we find the percentage of female business owners (33.6 percent) to be not only the highest in the region, but above and beyond the conditions and level of advancement represented by the trend line.</p> <p>In contrast, women in markets that are below the trend line such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and India are less able to utilize the existing opportunities and enabling conditions available in their local environments to pursue business ownership. For example, in Taiwan, in spite of the relatively high percentage of female in parliament (25.3 percent, 4<sup>th</sup>), high access to basic (99.7 percent, 5<sup>th</sup>) and advanced education (88.0 percent, 3<sup>rd</sup>), the percentage of female business ownership is low at the regional level (19.3 percent, 12<sup>th</sup>). It is possible that women in these markets are restricted by other challenges and constraints such as cultural bias against women assuming business risks, lack of family support and flexibility to run their own business, lack of management skills, or fear of losing the financial security of fixed salaries. It is also possible that there is simply a lack of optimism among women of their capabilities to successfully manage their work-life balance and the financial risks associated with business ownership. This suggests that the full potential of women as entrepreneurs is not fully harnessed.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/DeterrentsToAdvancement.png"><img width="601" height="336" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/DeterrentsToAdvancement.png"></a></p> <p><i>Case Study: Bangladesh</i></p> <p>The case of women in Bangladesh warrants special mentioning. In spite of the considerably less favorable supporting conditions, the percentage of female business owners in Bangladesh at 25.8 percent (6th) actually surpasses that of most of its regional peers including the developed markets of Hong Kong (19.8 percent), Japan (17.6 percent) and Korea (23.2 percent). In fact, a recent article published by the <i>International Labour Organization (ILO) </i>reveals women in Bangladeshi to be at the “forefront among the least-developed countries in addressing gender parity”<sup><a href="#3">3</a></sup>. Apart from making major strides in entrepreneurship, Bangladeshi women have achieved tremendous progress in their participation in parliament (doubling from 10 percent in 1990 to 20 percent in 2015). In terms of workforce participation, they are playing an increasingly vital role in contributing to the economy (58.1 percent, ranked 6th), especially in the ready-made garment (RMG) sector whereby nearly 80 to 85 percent are female workers. Such commendable progress is partly attributed to the positive impact of microfinance programs initiated in the rural areas allowing women to borrow (92 percent of borrowers are females) – a move that has increased women’s sense of empowerment, financial capacity and influence, social acceptance and political involvement, and general welfare. It should be noted that while Bangladeshi women business owners as a percentage of all business owners more than doubled from 10 percent in 2005 to 25 percent in 2010, almost all of this increase was achieved in the rural sectors and understandably so since much of the effort to support female entrepreneurship has been focused at rural Bangladesh.</p> <p></p> <p></p> 2.2. Supporting Conditions Vital in Driving Women’s Entrepreneurial Progress<p>The Index scores highlight that <b>women’s inclination to be or ability to thrive as entrepreneurs appear to vary depending on the strength or weakness of their respective country’s “Supporting Conditions”</b>. These include considerations such as women’s access to basic and advanced knowledge assets (human capital), access to financial capital, and safety from threats of financial crimes. For instance, in countries such as New Zealand, Australia and Taiwan where the accommodating conditions shaping women’s entrepreneurship are the highest, their overall Index scores are also higher (within top 6 rankings).&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <table> <tbody><tr><th valign="top" class="table-description" style="text-align: center;"><b>Markets</b></th> <th valign="top" class="table-description" style="text-align: center;"><b>Index Score &amp; APAC Ranking</b></th> <th valign="top" class="table-description" style="text-align: center;"><b>Supporting Conditions Component Score (Rank)</b></th> </tr><tr><td valign="top" style="text-align: center;"><b>New Zealand</b></td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;">53.9&nbsp; (1<sup>st</sup>)</td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;"><b>31.9 (1<sup>st</sup>)</b></td> </tr><tr><td valign="top" style="text-align: center;"><b>Australia</b></td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;">51.7 (2<sup>nd</sup>)</td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;"><b>31.3&nbsp; (2<sup>nd</sup>)</b></td> </tr><tr><td valign="top" style="text-align: center;"><b>Taiwan</b></td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;">48.6 (6<sup>th</sup>)</td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;"><b>29.8&nbsp; (3<sup>rd</sup>)</b></td> </tr><tr><td valign="top" style="text-align: center;">Singapore</td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;">50.1 (5<sup>th</sup>)</td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;">29.4&nbsp; (4<sup>th</sup>)</td> </tr><tr><td valign="top" style="text-align: center;">Korea</td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;">46.2 (9th)</td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;">28.1 (5<sup>th</sup>)</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/SupportingConditionsComponent.png"><img width="540" height="286" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/SupportingConditionsComponent.png"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/LevelOfAdvancement.png"><img width="547" height="255" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/LevelOfAdvancement.png"></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> 2.3. Necessity and Opportunity Entrepreneurs<p>Since the differentiation between two different types of entrepreneurship by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) in 2001:&nbsp; <i>Necessity and Opportunity Entrepreneurship</i>, various studies have been undertaken to further explore the different implications and impact of the two. These included the difference in their characteristics and earning differentials (profitability)<sup><a href="#4">4</a></sup>, how they perform through the business cycle<sup><a href="#5">5</a></sup>, and their duration in self-employment<sup><a href="#6">6</a></sup>.</p> <p>In this report, <b>Necessity Entrepreneurs among women are described as those who are driven by the overriding need to survive and support oneself and/or family due to the lack of employment opportunities</b>. This is usually due to various factors such as: (i) the lack of access to higher levels of education and hence the lack of capacity or qualification to take on roles such as business owners, business leaders and politicians, (ii) inability to secure start-up funds/loans and capital, (iii) the need to earn supplementary income to alleviate existing economic stresses, and (iv) overpowering cultural bias against women working or taking up risks. These circumstantial factors are external ‘<i>push’</i> conditions that are usually not controllable and in turn, drive women to take on business ventures that are less productive or to operate in markets that are already saturated due to the limited entry barriers or limited startup capital.</p> <p>In contrast, <b>Opportunity Entrepreneurs are those who are driven by the intrinsic desire to progress up the social, economic or political ladder</b>. These women are typically motivated by ‘<i>pull’</i> factors such as the possession of higher levels of financial and knowledge assets that allow them to assume positions of leadership, business ownership and politicians. They are usually driven by an attractive or opportunistic venture that usually encompasses innovation, new ideas or concepts or the development of products or services that will fulfill unmet/underserved market needs or trends.&nbsp; In these situations, women are unlikely to be held back or suppressed by social bias (cultural and traditional beliefs).</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/TypesOfEntrepreneurs.png" target="_blank"><img width="579" height="326" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/TypesOfEntrepreneurs.png"></a></p> <p>The results from the Index suggest that <b>Opportunity Entrepreneurship</b> is more likely to exist in markets where the underlying supporting conditions for women’s entrepreneurship are more accessible, relevant and acceptable. Furthermore, because the level of advancement and entrepreneurial factors is more established and encouraged, the overall Index and component scores are higher and are considered to be ‘Very Healthy’ <i>relative to their regional peers</i> (e.g. higher percentage of women business leaders, more women politicians and higher female workforce participation). This is highlighted in the chart below where the top 5 markets (New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Philippines and Singapore) scored not only highest in their overall Index rankings (above 50 points), but the scores of the two components (supporting conditions and level of women’s advancement and entrepreneurial factors) tend to be among the highest in the region. This is represented by the intensity of colors in the chart where the darkest intensity (deep orange) denotes the highest/best scores and lowest intensity (light yellow) indicates lowest/weakest scores.</p> <p>Conversely, <b>Necessity Entrepreneurship</b> is more likely to exist in markets where the underlying supporting conditions for women’s entrepreneurship are less developed, established, and are thus considered to be ‘Quite Healthy’ or ‘Acceptable’ relative to their regional peers. The drive to escalate the level of women’s advancement and entrepreneurial factors in these environments may be less pronounced and encouraged amid higher prevalence of gender cultural bias, leading to the lower percentage of women business leaders, women politicians and female employees. These conditions are likely to be more acute in markets at the bottom of the chart below: Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh whereby the overall Index and component scores are lower (shaded in light yellow or light orange). &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/OpportunityEntrepreneurship.png" target="_blank"><img width="516" height="414" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/OpportunityEntrepreneurship.png"></a></p> <p></p> <p></p> 3. COUNTRY OVERVIEW<p><b>NEW ZEALAND (1<sup>st</sup>) and AUSTRALIA (2<sup>nd</sup>)</b></p> <p>A close-up of the underlying supportive conditions in the leading markets of New Zealand and Australia reveal that there are several core factors ‘pushing’ women entrepreneurs’ advancement forward more effectively than their regional peers. First, women in these markets tend to have higher opportunities and access to advanced education<b>,</b> granting them with the human capital and competitive edge needed when it comes to finding work in the labor force, starting their own business ventures, assuming business leadership roles and being represented on corporate boards and in parliament. They are also more able to break free from being locked down in the traditional service-oriented industries and are enrolling in much more challenging STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering &amp; Mathematics). Various research studies indicate that companies with female board representation outperform those with no women on the board (Credit Suisse Research Institute, 2008) and women-led private technology companies are more capital-efficient and achieved 35 percent higher return on investment.</p> <p>In the chart below, we note that women in New Zealand and Australia are leading the way in various metrics in Asia Pacific, including: (i) Female Business Ownership (International Labor Organization - ILO) as a percentage of all business owners (New Zealand: 31.5 percent and Australia: 33.6 percent); (ii) Percentage of Women Business Leaders (New Zealand: 39.9 percent, 2<sup>nd</sup> and Australia: 36.2 percent, 3<sup>rd</sup>); (iii) Percentage of Women in Parliament (New Zealand: 29.8 percent, 2<sup>nd</sup> and Australia: 30.1 percent, 1<sup>st</sup>) and (iv) Women Workforce Participation (New Zealand: 61.6 percent, 4th and Australia: 59 percent, 5th).</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/NewZealand.png"><img width="543" height="241" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/NewZealand.png"></a></p> <p>The opportunity to obtain advanced knowledge assets has also allowed women to leverage their managerial and interpersonal skills where mental skills are favored and valued higher than physical labor. A recent global study ‘<i>The 2015 Global Women Entrepreneur Leaders Scorecard</i>’ undertaken by Dell &amp; ACG Inc. found Australia to be the top scorer for potential entrepreneur leaders with over half of Australian female entrepreneurs <i>having a college background – an attribute and advantage that allows women to build networks for leverage and as a platform to grow their business</i>. At the same time, the proliferation of information technology and the widespread usage of the internet have made it easier for women to achieve a more satisfying, effective and flexible work-life balance. Conversely, in developing markets such as India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh where the access and opportunity to attain advanced education is less relative to the other markets, the Index scores are lower as well at 33.3, 32.7 and 27.0, respectively.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/Australia.png"><img width="534" height="237" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/Australia.png"></a></p> <p>Second, using the percentage of females with debit cards as a proxy to measure women’s access to mainstream financial services, it is observed that women in New Zealand (94.4 percent, 1st) and Australia (86.7 percent, 3rd) are among the highest ranked in terms of ownership of debit cards in the region. This could be due to various reasons such as: (i) women in these markets are considered to be more bankable compared to their peers; (ii) the banking and financial infrastructure and frameworks in these markets are developed relative to the other markets; (iii) the penetration of financial products and privileges such as debit cards to females is high; and (iv) women are financially savvy. &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/ConditionsSupportingNZAus.png"><img width="562" height="388" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/ConditionsSupportingNZAus.png"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;(Source: Mastercard In-House research, ILO 2015, World Bank Group 2015, UNESCO 2015, WEF 2015, Inter Parliamentary Union 2015, FINDEX 2014)</p> <p>Third, the growing and strengthening trend for networking among female entrepreneurs<b> </b>plays a vital role in fostering the right conditions to drive women’s ability to succeed in the corporate arena. It is not surprising to note that there is a strong presence, awareness and recognition of organizations such as “<i>Co. of Women</i>”<sup><a href="#7">7</a></sup> in New Zealand and “<i>Women as Entrepreneurs” (WE)<sup><a href="#8">8</a></sup></i> in Australia that provide tremendous support, resources and access for women entrepreneurs. Through these organizations and public events, a strong culture of networking for women entrepreneurs is fostered and is powerfully augmented by the high internet penetration and widespread social media usage (e.g. Facebook, blogs, Twitter) that exist where current or aspiring women entrepreneurs are able to readily share their success stories and become mentors for other entrepreneurs. Such web presence and high-attendance public events render women with a greater voice, transparency and visibility and effectively serve as crucial platforms to showcase women’s ability to overcome cultural barriers such as bias against working women, women on board and women serving in parliament. According to the <i>GEDI-Gender 20124 Executive Report</i>, a large proportion of women are not leveraging their entrepreneurial potential/value via professional social media such as <i>LinkedIn</i> profiles. Australia, despite being ranked 2<sup>nd</sup> overall in the GEDI-Gender Index, the percentage of women who have LinkedIn profiles is only around 43 percent (similar to the U.S. and South Korea, and trailing Jamaica at 53 percent).</p> <p>Fourth, there is a strong cultural awareness of and acceptance that women in these markets (and other developed and more open markets such as Singapore) are increasingly threading into and succeeding in the corporate and political arena. Alongside these social breakthroughs is the rising recognition of the importance of work-life balance and women’s ability to play an active and successful role in the economy and society. In fact, New Zealand and Australia have been heralded as the world’s most accommodative and nurturing countries for working women in an article released by The Economist in 2010. Called the “<i>Glass-Ceiling Index</i>”, the metrics draw on data from OECD, ILO, Catalyst and The Economist and revealed New Zealand as the top and Australia as the 5<sup>th</sup> most attractive market among a cohort of 26 global countries where women will have the best chance of getting equal treatment at the workplace<sup><a href="#9">9</a></sup>.&nbsp; According to the <i>World Bank Group’s ‘Doing Business Ranking: 2015/16</i>’, New Zealand and Australia are both ranked highly in 2<sup>nd</sup> and 13<sup>th</sup> place, respectively among 189 other countries globally.</p> <p>Fifth, the Index indicates that having less influence than their regional counterparts when it comes to making household financial decisions did not appear to be jeopardize or advance women’s level of entrepreneurial advancement: New Zealand (47.6, 10<sup>th</sup>) and Australia (46.4, 13<sup>th</sup>). Lastly, women’s perception of safety from violent and financial crimes did not appear to have an impact on their inclination/decision to become an entrepreneur: New Zealand (60.5, 5<sup>th</sup>) and Australia (54.2, 11<sup>th</sup>). <sup>&nbsp;</sup>&nbsp;</p> <p><b><i>Areas of Concern: Room for Improvement</i></b></p> <p>It should be noted that although New Zealand and Australia are among the top ranking markets in the region, there are still many areas to be improved upon to further drive the progress and momentum of women entrepreneurship. For instance, despite the fact that the gross enrollment rate of New Zealander females in secondary education is 100 percent and that for tertiary education is very high at 98.6 percent, only six out of every 10 females are actively participating in the workforce and contributing to the economy. Statistics by the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women (New Zealand) reveal that women are over-represented in the health sciences sector and under-represented in areas such as engineering and technology as well as in leadership roles within the research and academic sectors<sup><sup><a href="#10">10</a></sup></sup>. Although there are currently various programs to support women’s participation in innovation and leadership – skills that are fundamental and vital in business ventures - it will take the collective effort and interest of multiple stakeholders to put these measures into place and time for results to reflected.</p> <p></p> <p></p> <p style="font-family: tahoma, arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;"></p> THAILAND (3rd), PHILIPPINES (4th) & SINGAPORE (5th)<p style="font-family: tahoma, arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">The markets of Thailand, Philippines and Singapore have very close and healthy index scores of 50.9, 50.6 and 50.1 points, respectively. In Thailand and Singapore, women’s entrepreneurship is largely driven by favorable ‘Supporting Conditions’ such as high access to education and mainstream financial services. It should be noted that although these enabling conditions of women’s entrepreneurship are less favorable in the Philippines compared to the other markets (score of&nbsp; 20.3, rank 11<sup>th</sup>), the ‘Level of advancement and entrepreneurial factors’ component defined by proxies such as the percentage of female politicians and business leaders is scored the highest in the Philippines (30.3, 1<sup>st</sup> in region). In fact, women in the Philippines topped the region in 3 areas: (i) percentage of women business leaders – score of 47.5 percent; (ii) percentage of women who are able to fund their business through savings or borrowing – score of 45.3 percent, and (iii) women’s motivation to be business owners as proxied by the percentage of females inclined to start their own business in next 5 years – score of 81.8 percent. These indicators make them likely candidates to be ‘opportunity entrepreneurs’ displaying traits of being able to overcome traditional cultural bias against women playing an active role in the business world. They are also likely to be ambitious with desires to escalate up the socioeconomic ladder. &nbsp;</p> <p style="font-family: tahoma,arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/Thailand.png" target="_blank"><img width="541" height="234" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/Thailand.png"></a></p> <p style="font-family: tahoma,arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/Philippines.png" target="_blank"><img width="541" height="235" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/Philippines.png"></a></p> <p style="font-family: tahoma,arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/Singapore.png" target="_blank"><img width="545" height="242" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/Singapore.png"></a></p> <p style="font-family: tahoma, arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">It is encouraging to note that the proportion of female business leaderships in all three markets is high: Philippines (47.5 percent, 1<sup>st</sup>), Thailand (33.8 percent, 4<sup>th</sup>) and Singapore (33.5 percent, 6<sup>th</sup>). Women’s ability to seek funding to start, operate or expand their businesses is particularly high in the Philippines (45.3 percent, 1<sup>st</sup>) and Thailand (41.1 percent, 3<sup>rd</sup>). The scorecard also shows female’s interest to become business owners in the next five years to be very high in the Philippines (81.8 percent, 1<sup>st</sup>) and Thailand (69.3 percent, 2<sup>nd</sup>) in spite of the difficulties in doing business in both markets: Ease of Doing Business Ranking is 103<sup>rd</sup> in Philippines and 49<sup>th</sup> in Thailand.&nbsp; In Singapore, the particularly high percentage of female business owners (29.6 percent, 3<sup>rd</sup>) in the region is likely to be supported by the high ease of doing business (ranked 1<sup>st</sup> among 189 countries by the World Bank Group).</p> <p style="font-family: tahoma, arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">Women’s access to mainstream financial products such as the ownership of a debit card vary significantly between the three markets with Singapore in 2<sup>nd</sup> place (90.2 percent ownership), Thailand in 8<sup>th</sup> place at 58.4 percent and Philippines in 15<sup>th</sup> place at 15.4 percent. Similarly, women’s participation in the labor force is also different among the three markets with Thai women being the 3<sup>rd</sup> most active in the region (63.7 percent) and Singaporean (55.8 percent, 7<sup>th</sup>) and Filipino (50.4 percent, 11<sup>th</sup>) women being comparatively less active. &nbsp;</p> <p style="font-family: tahoma,arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/ConditionsSupportingThPhSg.png" target="_blank"><img width="623" height="310" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/ConditionsSupportingThPhSg.png"></a></p> <p style="font-family: tahoma,arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; text-align: center;">(Source: Mastercard In-House research, ILO 2015, World Bank Group 2015, UNESCO 2015, WEF 2015, Inter Parliamentary Union 2015, FINDEX 2014)&nbsp;</p> <p>In Singapore, the relatively high female enrollment rate in tertiary education (69.2 percent, 6th compared to 103.4 percent in Australia) may have been serving as an effective platform allowing women to gain prominence in the political and corporate spheres: one in four parliament members are female (25.3 percent, 5th) and one in three business leaders are women (33.5 percent, 5th).&nbsp; It is also likely society in Singapore is comparatively more liberal, open-minded, and supportive of women assuming high-ranking, visible and global roles outside of the house. The prevalence of networking among women entrepreneurs in Singapore plays a significant role in supporting and strengthening the entrepreneurial capabilities of women. This is manifested through the work of organizations such as CRIB Pte Ltd, the Singapore Council of Women’s Organizations, and The Athena Network Singapore. The effectiveness of this tight network of pro-women entrepreneur organizations is further augmented by the high ease of doing business in Singapore (ranked 1st by in the World Bank Group’s Doing Business Ranking for 2015/16).</p> <p>Furthermore, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index for 2015/16, Singapore is ranked number two globally as one of the most competitive and advanced economies in the world. It is not surprising that BNP Paribas’s Global Entrepreneurial Wealth Creation Index identified Singapore as the world’s 6th most conducive market in creating wealth.</p> <p><i>Opportunities in Thailand &amp; Philippines: Networks as Powerful Levers &amp; Vital Pillars of Support</i></p> <p>Recent research work undertaken by <i>The Asian Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Department of State and APEC </i>to assess areas that encourage or deter access to trade and progress in women-run or owned SMEs in 3 Southeast Asian countries – Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines - revealed that <b>women business owners who interact with business associations are 24 percent more likely to report plans to increase their firm’s size over the next 3 years</b><sup><a href="#11">11</a></sup>. Other research work by the <i>Boston Consulting Group</i> found that networking encourages women entrepreneurs to “…increase their aspirations, envision long-term plans, and set more ambitious growth targets… and women with more social capital were able to gain greater access to more diverse credit options, including microfinancing and cooperative loans”<sup><a href="#12">12</a></sup>.</p> <p>The implication of these findings is significant. Thailand has one of the world’s most robust and biggest tourism sectors made up predominantly by food &amp; beverage, retail, and beauty and personal care services that are usually SMEs requiring low setup capital and manpower. While these have vastly expanded women’s entrepreneurial opportunity, there is still a lack of support and enabling platforms for female entrepreneurs who are disadvantaged due to gender bias. At present, although there are some support stemming from the government and private sector to establish networking systems such as the “Thai Social Enterprise Office (TSEO)” and the “Women Counselor and Entrepreneur Thai Trade Association (WCETTA)”, other measures are needed to allow women to more effectively showcase their services and products and to expand their networks.</p> <p style="font-style: italic;"></p> <p></p> <p></p> TAIWAN (6th), HONG KONG (8th) & SOUTH KOREA (9th) <p>With overall Index scores of 48.6, 46.4 and 46.2, respectively Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea are ranked closely together in the region. The most striking similarity between the three markets is the strength of the ‘Supporting Conditions’ component for women’s entrepreneurship: Taiwan at 29.8 (3<sup>rd</sup>), South Korea at 28.1 (5<sup>th</sup>) and Hong Kong at 27.9 (6<sup>th</sup>). However, women in these markets are vulnerable to challenges posed by weaker ‘levels of women’s advancement and entrepreneurial factors’ compared to their regional peers: Taiwan at 18.8 (10<sup>th</sup>), Hong Kong at 18.5 (11<sup>th</sup>) and South Korea at 18.1 (12<sup>th</sup>). For instance, women’s participation in the labor force rank at the lower end of the spectrum with an average of five out of every 10 females of working age actually in the workforce: Taiwan at 52.3 percent (8th), Hong Kong at 51.1 percent (10th) and South Korea at 49.1 percent (12th). This is considered relative low compared to the other regional markets such as Vietnam (73.8 percent), China (66.4 percent) and Thailand (63.7 percent).</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/Taiwan.png"><img width="540" height="235" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/Taiwan.png"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/HongKong.png"><img width="541" height="239" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/HongKong.png"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/Korea.png"><img width="541" height="239" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/Korea.png"></a></p> <p>This laggard progress in women’s entrepreneurship is reflected in the World Bank’s Doing Business scores whereby despite being ranked among the top 12 in the world, women’s inclination to start their own business in the next five years is muted relative to their Asia Pacific peers such as Philippines and Thailand where the level of advancement and entrepreneurial factors is considerably healthier (refer to table below). The sub-component scores also show women’s roles as business owners to be low with only one out of every five owners being female: South Korea at 23.2 percent (10th), Hong Kong at 19.8 percent (11th) and Taiwan at 19.3 percent (12th). This is comparatively lower than that in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and China where nearly one in three owners are women.</p> <table> <tbody><tr><th valign="top" class="table-description"><b>Market</b></th> <th valign="top" class="table-description"><b>Component Score for ‘Level of Advancement &amp; Entrepreneurial Factors’ (Rank)</b></th> <th valign="top" class="table-description"><b>World Bank Doing Business Ranking 2015/16</b></th> <th valign="top" class="table-description"><b>&nbsp;percent Females inclined to start own business in next 5 years (Rank)</b></th> </tr><tr><td valign="top" style="text-align: center;"><b>Taiwan</b></td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;">18.8 (10<sup>th</sup>)</td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;">11<sup>th</sup></td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;">43.5 percent (11<sup>th</sup>)</td> </tr><tr><td valign="top" style="text-align: center;"><b>Hong Kong</b></td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;">18.5 (11<sup>th</sup>)</td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;">5<sup>th</sup></td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;">44.4 (10<sup>th</sup>)</td> </tr><tr><td valign="top" style="text-align: center;"><b>South Korea</b></td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;">18.1 (12<sup>th</sup>)</td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;">4<sup>th</sup></td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;">46.9 (8<sup>th</sup>)</td> </tr><tr><td valign="top" style="text-align: center;"><b><i>Philippines</i></b></td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;"><i>30.3 (1<sup>st</sup>) </i></td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;"><i>103<sup>rd</sup></i></td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;"><i>81.8 (1<sup>st</sup>) </i></td> </tr><tr><td valign="top" style="text-align: center;"><b><i>Thailand</i></b></td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;"><i>25.7 (2<sup>nd</sup>) </i></td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;"><i>49<sup>th</sup> </i></td> <td valign="top" style="text-align: center;"><i>69.3 (2<sup>nd</sup>)</i></td> </tr></tbody></table> <p>In recognition of the underutilized economic capacities and value of women, the governments in these markets have initiated various programs to empower women as entrepreneurs. For instance, in Taiwan, special incubator facilities and guidance programs have been organized by the government for female entrepreneurs to help them strengthen their entrepreneurial capabilities. In fact, according to a recent report “<i>White Paper on SME in Taiwan 2012”,</i> women entrepreneurs in Taiwan have made notable progress: (i) more than 30 percent of Taiwanese SMEs are owned by women; (ii) 45 percent of women-owned SMEs have remained in the business for more than a decade; and (iii) women-owned businesses account for around 20 percent of sale revenue of all SMEs.&nbsp; As highlighted by the Mini<i>stry of Economic Affairs (2014, Small and Medium Enterprise Administration, Taiwan</i>), the government has launched the “Flying Geese Program for Empowering Women Entrepreneurs” that seeks to build social network resources, funding for start-ups, mentorship programs and counseling resources for female entrepreneurs. While the results and outcome of these programs will take time to come into effect, they represent a significant forward stance by the government and various stakeholders to work together to bolster women’s socioeconomic roles.</p> <p>In Hong Kong, women are making positive inroads as corporate leaders with 33.7 percent of business leaders (ranked 5<sup>th</sup>) being female, effectively placing them nearly at par with women in the leading entrepreneurial markets of New Zealand (39.9 percent, 1st) and Australia (36.2 percent, 2nd). However, it remains a concern that in spite of their fairly high access to advanced education and financial services and the existence of prominent networking associations such as Female Entrepreneurs Worldwide (FEW) and Women Entrepreneurs Online Hong Kong (WE HK), female’s participation in the workforce and parliament remain low.&nbsp; The level of entrepreneurial enthusiasm as proxied by their inclination to start their own business in the next five years is low compared to their regional peers (44.4 percent compared to 68.0 percent in Indonesia, 62.2 percent in India and 81.8 percent in the Philippines. These observations are mirrored in a recent global survey by <i>BNP Paribas “Global Entrepreneurialism Report</i>” – whereby it was noted that although Hong Kong has the 2<sup>nd</sup> highest percentage of entrepreneurs (45 percent) trailing only India at 49 percent, their potential are not fully tapped due to a lack of confidence and belief.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/ConditionsSupportingTwHkSk.png"><img width="597" height="282" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/ConditionsSupportingTwHkSk.png"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">(Source: Mastercard In-House research, ILO 2015, World Bank Group 2015, UNESCO 2015, WEF 2015, Inter Parliamentary Union 2015, FINDEX 2014)&nbsp;</p> CHINA (7th), INDONESIA (10th) & VIETNAM (11th)<p>With overall Index scores of 47.7, 44.7 and 43.9 respectively, China, Indonesia and Vietnam are ranked closely together.&nbsp;&nbsp; Their scores for the ‘Level of Advancement &amp; Entrepreneurial Factors’ are very similar: Vietnam (24.7, 3<sup>rd</sup>), China (24.7, 4<sup>th</sup>) and Indonesia (24.2, 5<sup>th</sup>) and are considered to be quite healthy at the Asia Pacific regional level, trailing only the Philippines and Thailand at 30.2 and 25.7, respectively, and nearly double that of Japan (13.0). In China, women are making fairly commendable inroads as entrepreneurs in spite of the weak underlying supporting conditions such as poor access to advanced knowledge assets (tertiary enrollment rate is only 32.1 percent compared to 103.4 percent in Australia) and poor penetration of mainstream financial services (female ownership of a debit card is only 50.2 percent compared to 94.4 percent in New Zealand). This is evident through their high female workforce participation rate (66.4%, 2<sup>nd</sup>), fairly strong financial capacity to fund own business startup/operation/expansion through savings or borrowings (29.7 percent, 4<sup>th</sup>) and relatively high motivation levels to start their own business in the next 5 years (60.7 percent, 5<sup>th</sup>). The percentage of females who are active in politics is also quite high compared to their regional peers (23.4 percent versus 30.1 percent in Australia, 25.3 percent in Singapore, 5.8 percent in Sri Lanka and 6.1 percent in Thailand).</p> <p style="font-family: tahoma, arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">In fact, China - alongside Hong Kong and Turkey – have been recently identified as the most conducive countries for entrepreneurialism in <i>BNP Paribas’s Global Entrepreneurism Report 2015</i> due to their particularly high number of successful high net worth and ultra-high net worth entrepreneurs. Specifically, the report underscored that the next wave of wealth creation will be ushered in by the following favorable characteristics that exist in these markets: strong community of entrepreneurs and high propensity to be entrepreneurial. This finding is reflected in Mastercard’s Women’s Entrepreneurial Index whereby Chinese women’s inclination to start their own business in the next five years is shown to be quite strong at 60.7 percent (5th). The potential for female entrepreneurship to gain more traction in China is also noted in <i>Dell’s Global Women Entrepreneur Leadership Scorecard (GWEL) 2015</i> due to the booming e-commerce sector.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/China.png"><img width="541" height="241" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/China.png"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/Indonesia.png"><img width="541" height="237" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/Indonesia.png"></a></p> <p>In Indonesia, the state of ‘Supporting conditions’ (20.5, 10<sup>th</sup>) and ‘Level of advancement and entrepreneurial factors’ (24.2, 5<sup>th</sup>) is quite healthy in relation to the other regional markets. Similar to China and Vietnam, women in Indonesia are neither privileged with the opportunity to pursue advanced knowledge assets (female tertiary enrollment rate is only 34.8 percent, 11<sup>th</sup>) nor are they able to benefit from mainstream financial products/privileges (female debit card ownership is only 25.4 percent , 13<sup>th</sup>). In spite of these hindrances, Indonesian women are succeeding as business owners and leaders whereby nearly one in every four owners/leaders is a female. They are also particularly apt in funding their own businesses (42.2 percent, 2<sup>nd</sup>, trailing only Philippines and are enthusiastic about starting their own business in the next five years (68.0 percent, 3<sup>rd</sup>, trailing only Philippines and Thailand). However, Indonesian women appear to be marginalized at the political sphere with only one out of every six parliament members being a female (16.8 percent, 10<sup>th</sup>), lagging behind the majority of their peers in Asia Pacific such as Australia (30.1 percent), China (23.4 percent) and the Philippines (27.2 percent). The participation of females in the workforce tends to be at the lower end as well (51.6 percent, 9<sup>th</sup>) alongside peers such as Hong Kong (51.1 percent) and Taiwan (52.3 percent). This could be due to deterrents such as cultural bias against women being socially, economically or politically active and the traditional belief that a woman’s place is more suited within the household as the primary caretakers. This appears to be consistent with the relatively high score of 55.3 (3<sup>rd</sup>) for Indonesian women’s role as the decision maker for household financial matters.</p> <p>The case in Vietnam is quite similar to that in China whereby the lack of favorable supporting conditions (19.2, 14th) have not deterred Vietnamese women from being the most active economically in the region with the highest score of 73.8 points for ‘female workforce participation rate’. Their financial capacity as business owners as proxied by their ability to obtain funding through savings or by borrowing is quite high (28.5, 5th) compared to their regional peers (Philippines in top place with 45.3 and Japan at only 4.3 points). It is encouraging that Vietnamese women are making strong strides as politicians (24.3 percent members in parliament are females, 6th), effectively placing them relatively close to the top scoring markets of Australia and New Zealand at 30.1 and 29.8, respectively. What is most uplifting is that notwithstanding the poor ranking of 90th in terms Doing Business (World Bank Group 2015/16 Ranking), the lack of access to mainstream financial products and poor possession of human capital, Vietnamese women are making their presence felt in the entrepreneurial sphere, boasting a relatively high female business ownership percentage of 28.4 percent (5th in the region) and quite close to the top markets of Australia and New Zealand at 33.6 and 31.5, respectively.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/Vietnam.png"><img width="541" height="237" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/Vietnam.png"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/ConditionsSupportingCnInVn.png"><img width="611" height="311" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/ConditionsSupportingCnInVn.png"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">(Source: Mastercard In-House research, ILO 2015, World Bank Group 2015, UNESCO 2015, WEF 2015, Inter Parliamentary Union 2015, FINDEX 2014)</p> <p>In our earlier discussion on opportunity and necessity entrepreneurship, we segregated markets based on how they performed at the component levels and their overall Index ranking. We anticipate that the particularly high resilience of the female cohort and the potential for women’s entrepreneurship to progress further in these markets (as highlighted in various studies such as Dell and BNP Paribas) will serve as vital platforms for opportunity entrepreneurship to take off in the future. Given the choice, opportunity and right tools, women who are currently in the workforce or already in a business will be inclined to venture into their own business or consider expanding it.</p> <p></p> JAPAN (12th) and MALAYSIA (13th)<p>With overall Index scores 40.6 and 38.8 respectively, Japan and Malaysia are ranked closely together but differ at the component level. While women in Japan are disadvantaged by the weak ‘level of advancement and entrepreneurial factors’ (13.0, 16<sup>th</sup>), they are enabled by rather healthy ‘supporting conditions’ (27.7, 7<sup>th</sup> and at part with their regional peers such as Singapore and Taiwan). In contrast, women in Malaysia are confronted with comparatively weaker ‘supporting conditions’ (19.6, 12<sup>th</sup>) such as low access to both secondary and tertiary education, but are enabled by a slightly higher ‘level of advancement and entrepreneurial factors’ (19.2, 9<sup>th</sup>).</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/Japan.png" target="_blank"><img width="529" height="235" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/Japan.png"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/Malaysia.png" target="_blank"><img width="543" height="241" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/Malaysia.png"></a></p> <p>There are also striking similarities between the two markets. For instance, we found women to be under-represented in the workforce (Malaysia at 43.7 percent and Japan at 48.8 percent) and in parliament (Malaysia at 14.2 percent and Japan at 10.8 percent). The low scores for employability suggest that there might be a lack of specialized or professional skill sets and formal work experience. They also generally perceive their safety from violence and financial crimes to be poor and exert little influence over household financial decisions.</p> <p>In Japan, it is disheartening to observe that despite being fairly well educated at the tertiary level (63.2 percent, 7th), Japanese women ability to contribute at the social, economic and political levels is severely undermined.&nbsp; The findings also point to low levels of motivation/desire among women to become business owners despite the country earning a fairly acceptable ranking of 34th in World Bank’s Doing Business 2015/16 scorecard. The weakness observed in women’s advancement and entrepreneurial factors is likely due in large part to overpowering, deeply-rooted traditional beliefs and cultural bias.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/ConditionsSupportingJpMy.png" target="_blank"><img width="541" height="298" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/ConditionsSupportingJpMy.png"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">(Source: Mastercard In-House research, ILO 2015, World Bank Group 2015, UNESCO 2015, WEF 2015, Inter Parliamentary Union 2015, FINDEX 2014)</p> <p>The lack of advancement in entrepreneurial factors among Japanese and Malaysian women is highlighted in the<i> Gender-GEDI 2014 Executive Report</i> whereby it was noted that despite the availability of ‘Favorable business environment’, <b>women in these markets have weak ‘Startup skills’ and lack the ability to identify business opportunities</b>. Of the 30 countries analyzed in the GEDI index, Malaysia’s overall ranking declined the most by four places from 2013 to 21st place in 2014 on the decrease in growth-oriented female startups and lower levels of female leadership<sup><a href="#13">13</a></sup>. Women in Malaysia are also marginalized by restricted access to public spaces due to discriminatory practices. The trend for networking and the usage of social media is also low with only around 40 percent of women having LinkedIn profiles, suggesting that there is much more that can be done to expand the visibility, connectivity and access to resources for women in these markets.</p> <p></p> <p></p> INDIA (14th), SRI LANKA (15th) & BANGLADESH (16th) <p>With overall Index scores of 33.3, 32.7 and 27.0 respectively, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are the three lowest ranked markets sharing similarities at the component level. Specifically, we note ‘Supporting Conditions’ such as access to advanced education and basic financial products to be weak in these markets relative to their peers in Asia Pacific. The ‘Level of Advancement &amp; Entrepreneurial Factors’ is also weak with women being largely under-represented in the workforce, parliament, business leadership, and university enrollment. The figures show that on average, only one in 10 business leaders is female. Similarly, the scores for the percentage of females in parliament are low (ranging from five percent to 20 percent) - a stark contrast to their peers such as Australia, New Zealand and Philippines where there are usually 30 percent females politicians.</p> <p>The scores also indicate that females’ employability in India (28.8%, 16<sup>th</sup>) and Sri Lanka (35.4%, 15<sup>th</sup>) to be severely undermined and low at the regional level, while that for Bangladesh is slightly better at 58.1 percent (6<sup>th</sup>). Women’s advancement as entrepreneurs is further aggravated by the lack of favorable conditions in doing business – the World Bank Group’s Ease of Doing Business index shows India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh’s ranking to be particularly low at 107th, 130th and 172nd respectively.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/India.png" target="_blank"><img width="543" height="241" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/India.png"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/SriLanka.png" target="_blank"><img width="540" height="244" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/SriLanka.png"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/Bangladesh.png" target="_blank"><img width="540" height="235" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/Bangladesh.png"></a></p> <p>Of the 10 indicators, Bangladesh women are lagging behind their regional peers in five aspects: women business leadership (5.5% percent), enrollment in tertiary education (14.4 percent), enrollment in secondary (57.6 percent), females debit card ownership (7.8 percent), and perception of safety from violence and financial crimes (27.7 percent). The lack of opportunity for both basic and advanced education is reflected in the low female workforce participation rate (58.1 percent). Bangladeshi women also have minimal means to finance their own businesses (6.1 percent, 15<sup>th</sup>) – this is likely due to the lack of work opportunities and source of income.&nbsp; Given these conditions, it is unsurprising that their inclination to start their own business is very weak (37.6 percent, 12<sup>th</sup>) compared to their peers. The lack of motivation to engage in entrepreneurial activities is also reflected in the <i>Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report (2011)</i> whereby the ‘fear of failure’ among Bangladeshi women is very high (72 percent compared to 38 percent in India), the perceived capabilities to do so acutely subdued (24 percent) and the entrepreneurial intention highly lacking (25 percent). Studies by the Asia Foundation revealed that male-operated SMEs in Bangladesh outnumber those led by female SME entrepreneurs significantly with less than two percent of the 3,800 firms in the sample having at least one female owner.</p> <p>Despite their lowest overall ranking in the Mastercard Women’s Entrepreneurial Index, Bangladeshi women are making laudable progress in the political arena with 19.8 percent (8<sup>th</sup>) of parliament members being female. This is considered to be healthy given the highest percentage is 30.1 percent in Australia and 29.8 percent in New Zealand, and the lowest is 5.8 percent in Sri Lanka and 6.1 percent in Thailand. Such achievement is remarkable given that the proportion of female politicians was only 10 percent in 1990 (ILO, 2010). As mentioned earlier in Section 2.1 (page 6), the percentage of female business owners in Bangladesh (25.8 percent, 6<sup>th</sup>) actually surpasses that of most of its regional peers including the developed markets of Hong Kong (19.8 percent), Japan (17.6%) and Korea (23.2 percent). This figure is also quite comparable to the top percentage scores in Australia (33.6 percent female owners) and New Zealand (31.5 percent, 2<sup>nd</sup>). Such progress is largely underpinned by the positive effects of microfinance programs initiated in the rural areas that have allowed Bangladeshi women to borrow.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Unleashing the Potential of Female Entrepreneurs in Developing Nations</b></p> <p>The economic sense of investing in women and their entrepreneurial capabilities as a crucial means of achieving sustainable economic development, especially in developing nations like India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh is acknowledged widely. Suffice to say, improving the enabling conditions for women’s progress and capabilities as entrepreneurs is likely to contribute positively towards the growth of the economy and welfare of the people, especially in terms of poverty reduction and job creation.&nbsp; Using the case of Sri Lanka as an example where the female literacy rate in secondary schools is 100 percent (highest in the Asia Pacific region and surpassing the UK), the potential for Sri Lankan women to play an economically more active role is tremendous. According to a recent report in the Technology Innovation Management Review, 80 percent of Sri Lanka’s GDP is contributed by SMEs of which only 10 percent are driven by women.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/ConditionsSupportingInSlBg.png" target="_blank"><img width="596" height="280" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/ConditionsSupportingInSlBg.png"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">(Source: Mastercard In-House research, ILO 2015, World Bank Group 2015, UNESCO 2015, WEF 2015, Inter Parliamentary Union 2015, FINDEX 2014)</p> <p>In India, the lack of progress among local women is also evident. However, recent research undertaken by the <i>United Nation Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific</i> revealed encouraging trends whereby the lack of opportunities and gender bias against women in India are driving women to embrace other opportunities and exploit avenues presented by information and technologies (ICTs) to create marketing channels, gather customer information, create their own support networks, and improve the efficiencies of their business process through better means of collaboration and engagement. Specifically, the usage of ICT technologies in India has allowed 81 percent of women to communicate, collaborate and network with others. Recent data from the <i>Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM, 2014)</i> shows adults in India to be generally positive about entrepreneurship: 58 percent consider entrepreneurship to be a desirable career choice while 66 percent believe that being an entrepreneur commands a high level of status and respect (66 percent). More importantly, the report reveal that an impressive one-third (34 percent) of early-stage entrepreneurs in India are women.</p> <p>In acknowledgement of the myriad of obstacles faced by Bangladeshi women, <i>The Asia Foundation</i> is embarking on a new initiative with <i>Banglalink</i> (the nation’s second largest mobile carrier) to increase women entrepreneurs’ access to business opportunities through associations, informal peer groups, and business hotlines. This will effectively enable women to seek advice from knowledgeable business counselors on how to obtain business licenses and bank loans, gain better access to the booming ICT sector and receive specialized training, among others. More importantly, this initiative will allow women entrepreneurs to sell their products online via a dedicated platform (bdwomensme.org).&nbsp;</p> <p></p> 4.0 CONCLUSION<p>The Mastercard Women’s Entrepreneurial Index 2016 highlights how markets in Asia Pacific share similarities and differences in terms of the supporting conditions and level of advancement of women’s entrepreneurship. The results underscore the difference in the pace of progress across the markets with New Zealand, Australia and Thailand leading the region in 1<sup>st</sup>, 2<sup>nd</sup> and 3<sup>rd</sup> places and India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh being the regional laggards in 14<sup>th</sup>, 15<sup>th</sup> and 16<sup>th</sup> place, respectively.</p> <p>Exploration of the correlation between women business ownership and the overall Index scores revealed that markets residing above the expected index trend line such as Australia, Singapore, Vietnam and Bangladesh are capable of not only making use of the opportunities and resources available to them, but are thriving better than their other regional peers in their progress as female business owners. In contrast, women in India, Taiwan and Malaysia are comparably less able to capitalize on the resources available to pursue business ownership.&nbsp;</p> <p>We demonstrated that women’s inclination to be or ability to thrive as entrepreneurs tends to vary depending on the strength or weakness of the “Supporting Conditions” component in their local environments and related this to New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Taiwan (markets among the top six) where the most favorable and accommodating conditions shaping women’s entrepreneurship are found. It is also observed that the two components in each market are not always positively correlated. This was especially evident in the markets of Taiwan and Japan where supporting conditions are strong but the level of advancement and entrepreneurial factors are markedly weaker.</p> <p>We drew upon research findings from various sources such as the Global Entrepreneurial Monitor (GEM), GEDI-Gender Index 2014 Reports and BNP Paribas and noted the implications for policy makers, private institutions and stakeholders with vested interests to advance women entrepreneurship. For those women who have succeeded, they should be recognized and their success stories shared. For those who aspire to be entrepreneurs or play a more active and visible role in the society and economy as business leaders or politicians, a more concerted effort geared work towards developing and strengthening the enabling conditions of women’s entrepreneurship such as labor factors and economic drivers must occur. We concur with various research reports that unleashing the greater potential of women entrepreneurs will require time, targeted effort by various stakeholders, resources and most importantly, confidence and inner drive within women themselves in their ability to take on the roles, challenges and risks entailed in entrepreneurship.</p> <p>It is also clear from the findings that while the degree of effort and support from governments, not-for-profit organizations, communities and private sectors will vary, the one thing that is common is the tremendous leverage that may be gained by expanding and reinforcing the ability for women to be attached to strong and relevant networks as one of the most enabling condition to drive women’s entrepreneurship.&nbsp;</p> <p><br type="_moz"> </p> <p><b><u>Footnotes</u></b></p> <p><b><u></u></b><a name="1"></a>[1] VanderBrug, J. (2013) “<i>The Global Rise of Female Entrepreneurs</i>”, Harvard Business Review, September 4, 2013. [Available Online]:&nbsp;<a href="https://hbr.org/2013/09/global-rise-of-female-entrepreneurs" target="_blank">https://hbr.org/2013/09/global-rise-of-female-entrepreneurs</a></p> <p><a name="2"></a>[2] Theoretically a score of 100 is only possible if all of the 10 indicators reach 100. While this is possible for some of the indicators like women’s workforce participation, or&nbsp; percent of females with a debit card; it is only theoretically possible for other indicators like&nbsp; percent of women in parliament (and very improbable)</p> <p><a name="3"></a>[3] International Labour Organization (2014) “<i>A quiet revolution: Women in Bangladesh</i>”, 29 Jan 2014, [Available Online]&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/comment-analysis/WCMS_234670/lang--en/index.htm" target="_blank">www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/comment-analysis/WCMS_234670/lang--en/index.htm</a></p> <p><a name="4"></a>[4] Block, J.H. &amp; Wagner, M.(2010) “<i>Necessity and opportunity entrepreneurs in Germany: Characteristics and earning differentials</i>”, Schmalenbach Business Review, April 2010, pp.154-174, [Available Online]:<a href="http://www.sbr-online.de/pdfarchive/einzelne_pdf/sbr_2010_apr_154-174.pdf" target="_blank">http://www.sbr-online.de/pdfarchive/einzelne_pdf/sbr_2010_apr_154-174.pdf</a></p> <p><a name="5"></a>[5] Thompson, P. (2011) “<i>Necessity and Opportunity Entrepreneurs through the Business Cycle</i>”, Florida International University, April 2011, [Available Online]:<a href="http://www.peterthompson.gatech.edu/uploads/images/Papers/nec-opp.pdf" target="_blank">www.peterthompson.gatech.edu/uploads/images/Papers/nec-opp.pdf</a></p> <p><a name="6"></a>[6] Block, J. &amp; Sandner, P. (2009) “<i>Necessity and Opportunity Entrepreneurs and their duration in self-employment: Evidence from German micro data</i>”, The German Socio-Economic Panel Study, SOEP Papers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research, Berlin, May 2009. [Available Online]:<a href="https://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.98689.de/diw_sp0191.pdf" target="_blank">https://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.98689.de/diw_sp0191.pdf</a></p> <p><a name="7"></a>[7] The “<i>Co. of Women”</i>&nbsp;is a community, support and learning organization for women entrepreneurs that focuses on success and how to achieve more of it. It was founded to connect and champion women entrepreneurs. Website:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.coofwomen.biz/" target="_blank">www.coofwomen.biz</a></p> <p><a name="8"></a>[8] The “Women as Entrepreneurs” (WE) is the leading organization in Australia for female entrepreneurs created with the vision to build, support and promote the Australian national community of like-minded aspiring and accomplished female entrepreneurs.&nbsp; Website:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.womenasentrepreneurs.com.au/" target="_blank">www.womenasentrepreneurs.com.au</a></p> <p><a name="9"></a>[9] The Glass-Ceiling Index is a compilation by The Economist to show which markets provide the most conducive workplaces where women are able to obtain equal treatment. The top 5 markets out of the total 26 include, by order, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Canada and Australia.</p> <p><a name="10"></a>[10]&nbsp;Kiwi Connect, Global Entrepreneurship Week: Celebrating our women entrepreneurs, “<i>So what can we do to help</i>”, Nov 16, 2014, [Available Online]<a href="http://www.kiwiconnect.nz/blog/2015/1/22/its-global-entrepreneurship-week-lets-celebrate-our-women-entrepreneurs" target="_blank">http://www.kiwiconnect.nz/blog/2015/1/22/its-global-entrepreneurship-week-lets-celebrate-our-women-entrepreneurs</a></p> <p><a name="11"></a>[11]<i>&nbsp;“Access to Trade and Growth of Women’s SMEs in APEC Developing Economies</i><i>”,&nbsp;</i>The Asian Foundation, U.S. Department of State and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), 2013, Published by Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy (PPWE), [Available Online]:&nbsp;<a href="http://publications.apec.org/publication-detail.php?pub_id=1388" target="_blank">http://publications.apec.org/publication-detail.php?pub_id=1388</a></p> <p></p> <p></p> <p><a name="12"></a>[12]<i>&nbsp;“<i>Bridging the Entrepreneurship Gender Gap: The Power of Networks”,</i>&nbsp;</i>Boston Consulting Group, 2014, Available Online:<a href="https://www.bcgperspectives.com/content/articles/business_social_sector_investing_impact_bridging_entrepreneurship_gender_gap/" target="_blank">https://www.bcgperspectives.com/content/articles/business_social_sector_investing_impact_bridging_<br> entrepreneurship_gender_gap/</a></p> <p><a name="13"></a>[13] The level of female leadership is measured by the percentage of women in leadership positions (GEDI-Gender 2014 Index Report)&nbsp;</p> <p></p> The Mastercard Index measures female entrepreneurs’ ability to capitalize on opportunities granted through various supporting conditions within their local environments and is the weighted sum of two components: “Level of Women’s Advancement and Entrepreneurial Factors” (geared towards measuring the degree of bias against women as workforce participants, political and business leaders, as well as the financial strength and entrepreneurial inclination of women) and “Supporting Conditions” (gauge the degree of access women have to basic and advanced knowledge assets, access to basic financial services, women’s perception of safety levels and cultural perception of women’s household financial influence). These are in turn derived from 10 indicators, measured on a scale of 0 (worst) to 100 (best).http://www1.mastercard.com/content/intelligence/en/research/reports/2016/womens-entreprenurial-index-20162016-08-17T16:00:00.000Z2016-08-17T16:00:00.000ZWomen’s Socio-economic Advancement Shows Steady Increase in 11 of 14 Asia/Pacific Markets According to Latest MasterCard Index Vani Viswanathan, Nabila AdnanBusiness ownership shows room for growth<p>Female business ownership in Asia still has a long way to go. Twelve of the 14 markets included in the research had fewer than 50 female business owners for every 100 male business owners.</p> <p>Australia (63.3) and India (61.1) scored high in this category, while Japan (28.7), Hong Kong (30) and Taiwan (30.2) had less women for every 100 men owning businesses in their country.&nbsp;</p> <p></p> Philippines most encouraging for women business/government leaders<p>Few markets were encouraging to women business and government leaders, with only six markets having at least 50 women business/government leaders for every 100 male business/government leaders.</p> <p>Across the 14 Asia/Pacific markets, Philippines was the only market that had achieved gender parity in business or government leadership. New Zealand (76.6), Australia (74.1) and Singapore (67.0) also had a reasonably high proportion of women to men in business/government leadership positions, while Japan (14.6), Korea (18.9) and China (24.1) scored especially low in this category.&nbsp;</p> <p></p> Healthy workforce participation and regular employment opportunities<p>Workforce participation rates for women were healthy across most markets, with nine markets averaging over 70 women for every 100 men in the workforce. India ranked poorly in this category, with only 40 women in the workforce for every 100 men, as did Malaysia (56.6), Indonesia (60.6) and Philippines (63.3).</p> <p>Ten of the 14 markets included in the research offered equal opportunity in regular employment for men and women. The exceptions were India, where women have the lowest regular employment opportunities to men (63.4) of the Asia/Pacific markets, followed by Vietnam (71.9), China (82.7) and Indonesia (88.8).&nbsp;</p> <p></p> Women well represented in tertiary institutions <p>Enrollment rates for women in tertiary institutions are on par with men across most Asia/Pacific markets, with the exception of Japan (89.6), Korea (72.2) and India (72.1).</p> <p>In fact, in many markets, women are better represented in tertiary institutions than their male counterparts. This is the case in New Zealand (143.2), Malaysia (136.2), Australia (130.1), Thailand (125.8), Philippines (120.8), China (116.1), Vietnam (109.9), Taiwan (106.1), Hong Kong (105.1).</p> <p>Georgette Tan, vice president, Communications, Asia/Pacific, Middle East &amp; Africa, said: “The research paints a very interesting picture of the socio-economic status of women across Asia/Pacific. Overall, it is good to see that the scores have been rising for women in many markets across the region, showing that they are receiving the opportunities to advance themselves.</p> <p>“While women in many markets have equal access to job opportunities and tertiary education, this is not the case when it comes to top positions in government or business, and few of them are business owners themselves. This indicates that culture still plays a massive role in offering women the environment and opportunities to break the glass ceiling and rise to leadership positions.</p> <p>“That being said, we have come a long way by giving women access to education and regular employment opportunities, which are essential building blocks to further empowerment, financial independence and leadership.”</p> <table width="649" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="1"> <tbody><tr><th class="table-description" colspan="7"><b>MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement</b></th> </tr><tr><th class="table-description" rowspan="2"><b>Market</b></th> <th class="table-description" rowspan="2"><b>Overall</b> <b>Score</b></th> <th class="table-description" colspan="5"><b>Five Indicator Scores</b></th> </tr><tr><th class="table-description"><b>Tertiary Education</b></th> <th class="table-description"><b>Business Owners</b></th> <th class="table-description"><b>Business &amp; Government Leaders</b></th> <th class="table-description"><b>Workforce Participation</b></th> <th class="table-description"><b>Regular Employment Opportunities</b></th> </tr><tr><td>Australia</td> <td>83.8</td> <td>130.1</td> <td>63.3</td> <td>74.1</td> <td>81.4</td> <td>105.5</td> </tr><tr><td>Philippines</td> <td>81.5</td> <td>120.8</td> <td>47.4</td> <td>187.8</td> <td>63.3</td> <td>96.8</td> </tr><tr><td>New Zealand</td> <td>81.0</td> <td>143.2</td> <td>46.3</td> <td>76.6</td> <td>82.1</td> <td>109.6</td> </tr><tr><td>Singapore</td> <td>76.8</td> <td>97.2</td> <td>48.3</td> <td>67.0</td> <td>71.7</td> <td>109.9</td> </tr><tr><td>Hong Kong</td> <td>71.2</td> <td>105.1</td> <td>30.0</td> <td>49.5</td> <td>76.6</td> <td>110.1</td> </tr><tr><td>Thailand</td> <td>70.0</td> <td>125.8</td> <td>35.3</td> <td>36.3</td> <td>81.3</td> <td>97.0</td> </tr><tr><td>Malaysia</td> <td>69.8</td> <td>136.2</td> <td>33.7</td> <td>58.9</td> <td>56.6</td> <td>111.4</td> </tr><tr><td>Taiwan</td> <td>68.5</td> <td>106.1</td> <td>30.2</td> <td>33.6</td> <td>78.7</td> <td>109.3</td> </tr><tr><td>Indonesia</td> <td>67.0</td> <td>99.3</td> <td>40.7</td> <td>45.5</td> <td>60.6</td> <td>88.8</td> </tr><tr><td>China</td> <td>66.7</td> <td>116.1</td> <td>42.6</td> <td>24.1</td> <td>84.2</td> <td>82.7</td> </tr><tr><td>Vietnam</td> <td>66.1</td> <td>109.9</td> <td>35.0</td> <td>34.3</td> <td>89.3</td> <td>71.9</td> </tr><tr><td>Korea</td> <td>60.9</td> <td>72.2</td> <td>43.3</td> <td>18.9</td> <td>69.9</td> <td>103.8</td> </tr><tr><td>Japan</td> <td>60.1</td> <td>89.6</td> <td>28.7</td> <td>14.6</td> <td>67.4</td> <td>102.3</td> </tr><tr><td>India</td> <td>59.6</td> <td>72.1</td> <td>61.1</td> <td>61.1</td> <td>40.4</td> <td>63.4</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p><i>The scores above show the proportion of women to every 100 men for each category. Scores of over 100 are truncated to 100 when the overall Index score is derived, so as to ensure one component does not skew the overall Index score.</i></p> <p><i></i>The full set of results on the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement can be found at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.slideshare.net/MasterCardNews"><b>http://www.slideshare.net/MasterCardNews</b></a></p> <p></p> MasterCard and Women <p>MasterCard is committed to empowering women through its corporate social responsibility platform (CSR) in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa which is focused primarily on bettering the quality of life for women and children. MasterCard does this by supporting a broad range of women’s and children’s causes through scholarships, financial assistance, educational programs and various sustainability programs, helping provide them with the skills required to stand on their own feet and support themselves and their families.</p> <p>MasterCard has also devoted extensive resources to developing a deeper understanding of the women's segment in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. It regularly releases consumer insights and trend research on women. These can be accessed at its online repository of proprietary research <a href="http://www.masterintelligence.com/"><b>www.masterintelligence.com</b></a></p> <p></p> About MasterCard Worldwide<p><a href="http://www.mastercard.com/index.html" target="_blank"><b>MasterCard</b></a>&nbsp;(NYSE: MA),&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mastercard.com/" target="_blank"><b>www.mastercard.com</b></a>,<b>&nbsp;</b>is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate&nbsp;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 <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/MasterCardNews" target="_blank"><b>@MasterCardNews</b></a><b>,&nbsp;</b>join the discussion on the&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/blog/" target="_blank"><b>Cashless Conversations Blog</b></a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/subscribe/" target="_blank"><b>subscribe</b></a>&nbsp;for the latest <a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/" target="_blank"><b>news</b></a>.</p> The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement measures the socioeconomic standing of women across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. http://www1.mastercard.com/content/intelligence/en/research/press-release/2011/women-socio-economic-advancement-shows-steady-increase-in-11-out-of-14--asia-pacific-markets2011-03-07T16:00:00.000Z2011-03-07T16:00:00.000ZWomen in Asia/Pacific Making Strides towards Greater Socio-Economic Advancement Georgette Tan, Vasundhara SubrahmanianWomen in Asia/Pacific Making Strides towards Greater Socio-Economic Advancement<p style="text-align: center;"><b>Latest MasterCard Index Reveals a Steady Increase in Gender Equality for 12 of 14 Asia/Pacific Markets</b></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/singaporeprogressestowardgenderparity2.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="246" height="387" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/singaporeprogressestowardgenderparity2.jpg"></a></p> <p><a href="http://www.masterintelligence.com/asset/upload/h22012/link_images.jpg"><b>Click here to view the infographic</b></a></p> <p><i><b>Singapore, 29 February 2012</b></i>: <b><a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/asia-pacific/" target="_blank">Master Card</a>&nbsp;</b>today announced the results of its latest Index of Women’s Advancement. The Index which measures the socioeconomic level of women in relation to men revealed an increasing recognition for women’s empowerment in recent years, signaling enormous strides made by women in society.</p> <p>The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement is part of a sustained effort by MasterCard to measure the socioeconomic standing of women across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. The Index is comprised of five indicators: Business Ownership, Business &amp; Government Leadership, Workforce Participation, Regular Employment Opportunities and Tertiary Education. Each indicator measures the ratio of women to every 100 men in each of the 14&nbsp;Asia/Pacific markets covered by the research.</p> <p>Scores are indexed to 100 to indicate how close or how far women in each market are to achieving socio-economic parity with men. A score under 100 indicates gender inequality in favor of males while a score above 100 indicates inequality in favor of females. A score of 100 indicates equality between the sexes. <i>The Index and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.</i></p> <p>Frontrunners among the 14 Asia/Pacific markets were Australia and New Zealand with overall scores of 83.3 and 83.1, respectively. Following close behind are the Philippines (Index score: 77.8), Singapore (77.4) and Vietnam (75.0), while India (48.4), Korea (63.5) and Japan (64.8) round off the other end of the spectrum.</p> <p>Twelve of the 14 markets have been seeing increases in their overall Index scores for the last three years at least. While India currently ranks the lowest amongst all Asia/Pacific markets with an index score of 48.4, their scores have been on an upward trend since 2010. On the other hand, China, which currently has an index score of 73.7, has been experiencing consistent small declines in their score since 2007.</p> v. Enrollment rates for women in tertiary institutions surpass men for most Asia/Pacific markets<p>In eleven markets, women are on par or better represented in tertiary institutions than their male counterparts. This is the case in New Zealand (137.7), Malaysia (135.9), Australia (134.5), Thailand (133.2), Philippines (125.8), China (118.4), Vietnam (107.2), Taiwan (107.0), Hong Kong (104.2), Indonesia (103.3) and Singapore (98.1).</p> <p>Japan (89.6), Korea (73.1) and India (69.5) are exceptions where enrollment rates for women fall below those of men.</p> v. Moving towards a level playing field in terms of workforce participation and regular employment opportunities<p>Workforce participation rates for women were healthy across most markets, with eight markets averaging over 70 women for every 100 men in the workforce.</p> <p>India ranked poorly in this category, with only 35 women in the workforce for every 100 men, as did Malaysia (57.1), Indonesia (61.0) and Philippines (62.8).</p> <p>In terms of regular employment, eleven of the 14 markets included in the research offered equal opportunity for both men and women. The exceptions were India, where women have the lowest regular employment opportunities to men (52.9) of the Asia/Pacific markets, followed by Vietnam (71.6) and China (82.8).</p> v. Women still underrepresented among small business owners <p>Female business owners in Asia/Pacific still require greater economic and social empowerment. Thirteen of the 14 markets included in the research had fewer than 50 female business owners for every 100 male business owners.</p> <p>Australia (56.6) scored the highest in this category, while Japan (29.4), Hong Kong (29.0) and Taiwan (30.4) had less women for every 100 men owning businesses in their country.</p> v. Gender disparity in business/government leadership positions <p>There is much room for growth in encouraging women to take up positions as business and government leaders. According to the scores of the latest index, only six markets have at least 50 women business/government leaders for every 100 male business/government leaders.</p> <p>Across the 14 Asia/Pacific markets, Philippines (192.3) is the only market that achieved gender parity in business or government leadership. New Zealand (77.1), Australia (73.1) India (65.8) and Singapore (65.5) also had a reasonably high proportion of women to men in business/government leadership positions. Markets that scored especially low in this category include Japan (15.0), Korea (17.3) and China (24.0).</p> <p>MasterCard’s research on women’s advancement has shown that while more women have access to job opportunities and tertiary education, there is still room for improvement, especially when it comes to women taking top positions in government or business.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/people/gtan/"><b>Georgette Tan, group head, Communications, Asia/Pacific, Middle East &amp; Afric</b>a</a>, said: “The results of this latest index show that across the key indicators in most markets women are progressing; big steps are being taken in terms of workforce participation and regular employment opportunities and this is encouraging news. This is especially inspiring for the people who champion women’s entrepreneurship and empowerment as it shows that even in challenging times societies are taking these issues seriously.</p> <p>“Women’s socio-economic advancement starts at the basic level – from fostering confidence in girls through education, to giving women skills development and regular employment opportunities. In line with our commitment to this cause, MasterCard has recently launched Project Inspire, a year-long digital and social media driven initiative centered on the theme of advancing women’s entrepreneurship — the objective being to engage the minds of young social entrepreneurs through a competition to bring out the best ideas to support women’s empowerment. Such initiatives help raise awareness around the important role of women in societies in the APMEA region, and ultimately improve their socio-economic standing,” she concluded.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/WomenGreaterSocioEconomicAdvancement2.jpg"><img width="397" height="206" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/WomenGreaterSocioEconomicAdvancement2.jpg"></a></p> <p><i>The scores above show the proportion of women to every 100 men for each category. Scores of over 100 are truncated to 100 when the overall Index score is derived, so as to ensure one component does not skew the overall Index score.</i></p> <p>For the full report go to: <a href="http://www.masterintelligence.com"><b>www.masterintelligence.com</b></a></p> MasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties Asia/Pacific, Middle East & Africa <p>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 &amp; Entertainment, Education, Money Management, Luxury and General Shopping).</p> <p>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.</p> <p>MasterCard has also released a series of four books on Asian consumer insights, authored by</p> <p>Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Global Economic Advisor for MasterCard Worldwide and published by John Wiley &amp; Sons.</p> About MasterCard Worldwide<p><a href="http://www.mastercard.com/index.html" target="_blank"><b>MasterCard</b></a>&nbsp;(NYSE: MA),&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mastercard.com/" target="_blank"><b>www.mastercard.com</b></a>,<b>&nbsp;</b>is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate&nbsp;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 <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/MasterCardNews" target="_blank"><b>@MasterCardNews</b></a><b>,&nbsp;</b>join the discussion on the&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/blog/" target="_blank"><b>Cashless Conversations Blog</b></a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/subscribe/" target="_blank"><b>subscribe</b></a>&nbsp;for the latest <a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/" target="_blank"><b>news</b></a>.</p> Contacts:<p>Georgette Tan, <br> MasterCard Worldwide, <br> <a href="mailto:georgette_tan@mastercard.com">georgette_tan@mastercard.com</a>, <br> (65) 6390-5971</p> <p>Vasundhara Subrahmanian, <br> Weber Shandwick, <br> <a href="mailto:vsubrahmanian@webershandwick.com">vsubrahmanian@webershandwick.com</a>, <br> (65) 6825 8054</p> The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement is part of a sustained effort by MasterCard to measure the socioeconomic standing of women across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa.http://www1.mastercard.com/content/intelligence/en/research/press-release/2012/women-in-asia-pacific-making-strides-towards-greater-socio-econo2012-02-28T16:00:00.000Z2012-02-28T16:00:00.000ZSouth African Women’s Socio-economic Equality Shows Slight Improvement: MasterCard Index Birgit DeibeleDespite marginal year-on-year increase since 2010, gender inequality remains prevalent in the South African workplace<p style="font-family: tahoma, arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;"><b><i>Johannesburg, 1 September 2012&nbsp;– </i></b>The results of the latest MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement show that the socioeconomic status of South African women in the workplace in comparison to that of men has slowly improved over the past two years.</p> <p style="font-family: tahoma, arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">The overall Index score of 74.7 for 2012 is modestly higher than the outcome of 74.4 reported for 2011, and 74.0 in 2010. However, the score of 74.7 means that South African women are still not equal to men in the workplace, in spite of marginal progress.</p> <p style="font-family: tahoma, arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">Philip Panaino, division president, MasterCard Worldwide, South Africa says, “The research paints an interesting picture of the socio-economic status of women across South Africa. While&nbsp; there are still significant inequalities between men and women, it is encouraging to see that the overall index score has improved year-on-year since 2010, signifying increasing socio-economic equality between men and women.”</p> <p style="font-family: tahoma, arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement is part of a sustained effort by MasterCard to measure the socioeconomic level of women in relation to men, across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. Each indicator measures the ratio of women to every 100 men in the 24<sup>[<a href="#1">1</a>]</sup> markets covered by the research. The Index comprises five indicators: Business Ownership, Business &amp; Government Leadership, Workforce Participation, Regular Employment Opportunities and Tertiary Education.</p> <p style="font-family: tahoma, arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">Scores are indexed to 100 to indicate how close or how far women in each market are to achieving socio-economic parity with men. A score under 100 indicates gender inequality in favour of males, while a score above 100 indicates inequality in favour of females. A score of 100 indicates equality between the sexes. <i>The Index and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.</i></p> <p style="font-family: tahoma, arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;"><i></i>The findings for the five indicators are mixed. Two indicators show a superior reading in favour of women, namely the Tertiary Education indicator which shows a significantly superior reading, and the Regular Employment Opportunity indicator, which shows a marginally superior reading. The remaining three indicators reflect considerable levels of women’s inequality to men in the workplace.</p> <p style="font-family: tahoma, arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">Independent economist Dr. Roelof Botha says that South Africa’s score for gender inequality in 2011, as measured by the Gender Inequality Index (GII) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is slightly better than the global average. South Africa scores 0.490 on this index with the global average being 0.492, where a score of 0 indicates equality between men and women.</p> <p style="font-family: tahoma, arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">“In terms of the GII, only four countries (Rwanda, Burundi, Namibia and Mauritius) in sub-Saharan Africa have a lower level of gender inequality than South Africa,” Botha says. “It is encouraging to see the formal steps taken by the South African government to reduce gender inequality in the country; most recently, the Cabinet’s approval of the <a href="http://www.info.gov.za/view/DownloadFileAction?id=173252"><b>Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill</b></a>.”</p> <p style="font-family: tahoma, arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">Botha adds that the Bill is an important step in taking the issue of gender equality to a higher level through the concept of gender mainstreaming. “This has been established as a major global strategy for the promotion of gender equality by the United Nations and entails bringing the perceptions, experience, knowledge and interests of women and men to bear on policy-making, planning and decision-making,” he says.</p> <p style="font-family: tahoma, arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;"><a name="1"></a>[1]<b><i>Asia/Pacific</i></b><i> - Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. <b>Middle East</b> - Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. <b>Africa</b> - Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and South Africa</i></p> <p style="font-family: tahoma, arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;"></p> Women well-represented in South African tertiary institutions<p>Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of this year’s findings is from the Tertiary Education indicator of 135.3, which shows that significantly more South African women than men are enrolled for tertiary education. The reading is supported by university enrolment figures at UNISA, South Africa’s largest university, where <a href="http://heda.unisa.ac.za/filearchive/Facts%20&amp;%20Figures/Briefing%20Report%20Unisa%20Facts%20&amp;%20Figures%2020120215.pdf" target="_blank"><b>60% of the student population</b></a> was female in 2010. This figure has grown steadily from 56% in 2006.&nbsp;</p> Workforce participation rates for South African women remain low <p>Relative to South African men, fewer working-age South African women are participating in the formal labour market, in the sense of being actively employed or seeking work. A reading of 72.4 for the Workforce Participation indicator implies that the female labour participation rate is about three quarters of that for men. The most recent Quarterly <a href="http://www.statssa.gov.za/publications/P0211/P02112ndQuarter2012.pdf" target="_blank"><b>Labour Force Survey</b></a> conducted by Statistics</p> <p>South Africa shows that for the second quarter of 2012, there were 7.57 million men employed compared to 5.87 million women employed in South Africa.</p> <p></p> Women slightly ahead of men in their ability to find work<p>Women are creating their own work place opportunities, as reflected in the Regular Employment Opportunities indicator. This indicator measures the relative gender proportion of regular employees to the total number of workers and it examines all forms of employment, including casual work, self-employment and business ownership. The reading of 102.1 shows that slightly more women are able to find income-generating opportunities compared to men. Interestingly, this indicator has steadily increased in favour of women since 2007, when it reflected a reading of 98.5 in favour of men.</p> Female leaders outnumbered two-to-one by men<p>Representation by gender in South African business and government leadership shows that women’s standing in this indicator continues to lag behind men’s. The Business and Government Leaders indicator has a reading of 56.0 which means that for every 100 men in senior, decision-making positions in the South African public or private sector, there are only 56 women.</p> <p>The Business Women’s Association of South Africa’s <a href="http://www.bdlive.co.za/articles/2012/06/18/women-not-yet-on-top-in-south-african-business" target="_blank"><b>(BWASA) Women in Leadership Census 2012</b></a> supports these findings. The census showed that while women make up 52% of the population in South Africa, they account for just 3.6% of CEO positions, 5.5% of chairperson positions, and 21.4% of executive management positions. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that the census reveals an increase in the number of female directorships, with 17.1% of these positions being occupied by women, compared to 15% in 2011.&nbsp;</p> <p></p> More women business owners needed<p>Female business owners, defined as those who generate paid employment for others, are significantly underrepresented in South Africa. The Business Owners indicator reading of 37.1 suggests that there are fewer than 40 female business owners for every 100 men. This indicator has the lowest reading of the five indicators.</p> <p>In 2008, the <a href="http://www.idc.co.za/" target="_blank"><b>Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa</b></a> (IDC) launched a R1-billion Transformation and Entrepreneurship Scheme, which was put in place to help drive greater entrepreneurial activity in the country. This Scheme was spread across various development funds, one of which included the <a href="http://www.idc.co.za/development-funds/women-entrepreneurial-fund" target="_blank"><b>Women’s Entrepreneurial Fund</b></a> which was allocated R300-million.</p> <p></p> MasterCard supporting women’s advancement<p>MasterCard is committed to empowering women through its corporate social responsibility platform (CSR) in the Middle East and Africa, which is focused primarily on bettering the quality of life for women and children. MasterCard does this by supporting a broad range of causes that support women and children through scholarships, financial assistance, educational programmes and various sustainability programmes.</p> <p>In South Africa, MasterCard has been supporting <a target="_blank" href="http://www.jasa.org.za/ "><b>Junior Achievement South Africa</b></a> (JASA), a non-profit organisation that partners with the business community, educators and volunteers who work together to develop much needed entrepreneurial skills for young South Africans, for the past three years.</p> <p>“In support of uplifting women and encouraging entrepreneurship in South Africa, MasterCard most recently sponsored a JASA programme which saw 450 female Grade 11 learners from 10 South African schools take part in its globally-recognised entrepreneurship development programme, <i>JA BizVenture</i>. The learners were taught entrepreneurial and life skills aimed at equipping them to start their own businesses once they graduate from high school, so that they can in turn employ others,” says Panaino.</p> <p>“We believe that South Africa has come a long way in giving women access to education and regular employment opportunities, which are essential building blocks to further empowerment, financial independence and leadership. However, South Africa still has a long way to go to ensure that women are given the necessary opportunities to grow into senior leadership positions in the workplace, as well as being able to access the necessary support required to establish their own successful businesses,” Panaino concludes.</p> <p></p> MasterCard and Women <p>MasterCard is committed to empowering women through its corporate social responsibility platform (CSR) in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa which is focused primarily on bettering the quality of life for women and children. MasterCard does this by supporting a broad range of women’s and children’s causes through scholarships, financial assistance, educational programs and various sustainability programs, helping provide them with the skills required to stand on their own feet and support themselves and their families.</p> <p>MasterCard has also devoted extensive resources to developing a deeper understanding of the women's segment in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. It regularly releases consumer insights and trend research on women. These can be accessed at its online repository of proprietary research <a href="http://www.masterintelligence.com/" target="_blank"><b>www.masterintelligence.com</b></a></p> <p></p> MasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties <p>The MasterCard Worldwide Index suite of research products in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa includes the flagship MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence, and the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Purchasing Resilience, both of which are released six monthly, and the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement, the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Online Shopping, and the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Financial Literacy, which are released annually. In addition to the Index properties, MasterCard’s suite of research properties includes the MasterCard Worldwide Survey on Consumer Purchasing Priorities, released six monthly, and the MasterCard Worldwide Survey on Ethical Spending Behavior, released annually.</p> <p>Besides these, MasterCard also regularly releases Insights reports; the series represents in part its ongoing research and analysis of business dynamics, financial policies and regulatory activities in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. Over 70 Insights reports have been produced since 2004. The MasterCard Indexes and Insights reports are available at <a href="http://www.masterintelligence.com/" target="_blank"><b>www.masterintelligence.com</b></a></p> <p></p> ABOUT MASTERCARD<p><a href="http://www.mastercard.com/index.html" target="_blank"><b>MasterCard</b></a>(NYSE: MA), <a href="http://www.mastercard.com/" target="_blank"><b>www.mastercard.com</b></a>,is a global payments and technology company. It operates 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 <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/MasterCardNews" target="_blank"><b>@MasterCardNews</b></a><b>, </b>join the discussion on the <a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/blog/" target="_blank"><b>Cashless Conversations Blog</b></a> and <a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/subscribe/" target="_blank"><b>subscribe</b></a> for the latest <a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/" target="_blank"><b>news</b></a>.</p> Media Contacts<p>Birgit Deibele<br> Tribeca Public Relations<br> <a href="mailto:birgitd@tribecapr.co.za" target="_blank"><b>birgitd@tribecapr.co.za</b></a><br> 011 208 5529</p> The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement is part of a sustained effort by MasterCard to measure the socioeconomic standing of women across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa.http://www1.mastercard.com/content/intelligence/en/research/press-release/2012/south-african-womens-socio-economic-equality-shows-slight-improvement2012-08-31T16:00:00.000Z2012-08-31T16:00:00.000ZSingapore progresses toward gender parity: MasterCard Index of Women’s Advancement Joey Phua, Wendy TohLatest Survey Reveals Peak in Women Advancement Index for Singapore<p><b><i>Singapore, 23 April 2012</i></b><b>:</b> The latest MasterCard Index of Women’s Advancement, which measures the socioeconomic level of women in relation to men, showed that Singapore is progressively edging toward a society of gender parity. According to the Index results, women’s advancement in Singapore saw a record index score of 77.4 this year.</p> <p>The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement is part of a sustained effort by MasterCard to measure the socioeconomic standing of women across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. The Index is comprised of five indicators: Business Ownership, Business &amp; Government Leadership, Workforce Participation, Regular Employment Opportunities and Tertiary Education. Each indicator is based on a gender ratio of women to men in each of the 14 Asia/Pacific markets covered by the research.</p> <p>Scores are indexed to 100 to indicate how close or how far women in each market are to achieving socio-economic parity with men. A score under 100 indicates gender inequality in favor of males while a score above 100 indicates inequality in favor of females. A score of 100 indicates equality between the sexes. <i>The Index and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.</i></p> <p>The Index revealed that Singapore’s Women Advancement Index scores have been charting a steady increase since 2009, suggesting an increasing recognition for women’s empowerment in recent years, and signaling that strides are being made by women in society.</p> <table border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tbody><tr><th class="table-description"><b>Year</b></th> <th class="table-description"><b>Index Scores of Gender Parity<u></u></b></th> </tr><tr><td>2012</td> <td>77.4</td> </tr><tr><td>2011</td> <td>76.9</td> </tr><tr><td>2010</td> <td>76.3</td> </tr><tr><td>2009</td> <td>75.0</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p>“It is no surprise that Singapore is continuing to advance toward a nation where women are as well-represented and have as much opportunity as men in society. It is especially heartening to see that women are taking big strides forward in business ownership and business &amp; government leadership, two areas where there is still a substantial gender gap,” said Julienne Loh, vice president and country manager, Singapore, MasterCard Worldwide. “With women increasingly making key decisions in household purchases, coupled with stronger financial power accrued to their personal incomes, they are fast becoming a critical segment for the economy.”</p> <p></p> Breakdown of indicators<p>Through a combined weightage of five indicators, Singapore’s scores of gender parity exhibited a year-on-year increment from 2009 to 2012 across all indicators, even as males continue to dominate the charts. In one particular case of exception, women have been surpassing men in terms of Regular Employment Opportunities, and are continuing to do so increasingly.</p> <table border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" width="404"> <tbody><tr><th class="table-description" rowspan="2"><b>Indicators</b></th> <th class="table-description" colspan="4"><b>Indicator Scores of Gender Parity</b></th> </tr><tr><th class="table-description"><b>2012</b></th> <th class="table-description"><b>2011</b></th> <th class="table-description"><b>2010</b></th> <th class="table-description"><b>2009</b></th> </tr><tr><td>Tertiary Education</td> <td>98.1</td> <td>97.7</td> <td>97.1</td> <td>95.9</td> </tr><tr><td>Business Owners</td> <td>46.0</td> <td>44.9</td> <td>43.8</td> <td>42.8</td> </tr><tr><td>Business &amp; Government Leaders</td> <td>65.5</td> <td>63.5</td> <td>61.6</td> <td>60.1</td> </tr><tr><td>Workforce Participation</td> <td>74.0</td> <td>73.8</td> <td>73.6</td> <td>71.8</td> </tr><tr><td>Regular Employment Opportunities</td> <td>113.6</td> <td>113.3</td> <td>113.0</td> <td>110.3</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p><i>Gender parity is achieved at a score of 100.</i></p> <p></p> Breakdown of performance in the region<p>Singapore came up fourth for the socio-economic status of women against men when compared to its peers in the Asia/Pacific region.</p> <p>Frontrunners among the 14 Asia/Pacific markets were Australia and New Zealand with overall scores of 83.3 and 83.1, respectively. Following close behind are the Philippines (Index score: 77.8), Singapore (77.4) and Vietnam (75.0), while India (48.4), Korea (63.5) and Japan (64.8) round off the other end of the spectrum.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/singaporeprogressestowardgenderparity1.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="404" height="202" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/singaporeprogressestowardgenderparity1.jpg"></a></p> <p></p> <p>Comparing Singapore’s standing for each of the five indicators against its peers, Singapore’s numerically high indicator score for tertiary education (98.1) stood at the lower end of the spectrum (though it is virtually at the level of gender parity), with its peers in the Asia/Pacific region scoring as high at 181.6. Similarly, the workforce participation of men versus women, at 74.0, is at the lower 30<sup>th</sup> percentile of innovation driven economies among which 90.2 was the highest score.</p> <p>In contrast, the score indicator for business ownership may seem low at 46.0 but it has landed Singapore at the 88<sup>th</sup> percentile of innovation driven economies among which 56.6 was the highest score.&nbsp; Regular employment opportunities in Singapore (113.6) is similarly at the 85<sup>th</sup> percentile, of innovation driven economies among which 123.4 was the highest score.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/singaporeprogressestowardgenderparity2.jpg" target="_blank"><img width="240" height="373" src="/content/dam/intelligence/content-assets/singaporeprogressestowardgenderparity2.jpg"></a></p> <p></p> <p></p> <p>For the full report go to: <a href="http://www.masterintelligence.com/"><b>www.masterintelligence.com</b></a></p> <p></p> MasterCard and Women Empowerment<p>MasterCard’s corporate social responsibility platform (CSR) in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa is strongly focused on the empowerment of women and education.</p> <p>MasterCard has long devoted resources to understanding women and aiding their empowerment across the region. Its research in the region has examined various facets of women’s perceptions and behavior, including their socioeconomic status, their confidence in and outlook for the future, their purchasing priorities and traveling habits. An example of one such study which focuses on understanding women is the MasterCard Index of Women’s Advancement.</p> <p>In line with MasterCard’s commitment to empowering women, MasterCard has recently launched Project Inspire, a year-long digital and social media driven initiative centered on the theme of advancing women’s entrepreneurship — the objective being to engage the minds of young social entrepreneurs through a competition to bring out the best ideas to support women’s empowerment. MasterCard believes that such initiatives help raise awareness around the important role of women in societies in the APMEA region, and ultimately improve their socio-economic standing.</p> <p>In the celebration of International Women’s Day, call for pitch ideas opens on 8 March at <b><a href="http://www.5minutestochangetheworld.org/">www.5MinutestoChangetheWorld.org</a> </b>as Project Inspire 2012 launches.</p> <p></p> MasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties Asia/Pacific, Middle East & Africa <p>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 &amp; Entertainment, Education, Money Management, Luxury and General Shopping).</p> <p>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.</p> <p>MasterCard has also released a series of four books on Asian consumer insights, authored by</p> <p>Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Global Economic Advisor for MasterCard Worldwide and published by John Wiley &amp; Sons.&nbsp;<b></b></p> <p></p> About MasterCard<p><a href="http://www.mastercard.com/index.html" target="_blank"><b>MasterCard</b></a>&nbsp;(NYSE: MA),&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mastercard.com/" target="_blank"><b>www.mastercard.com</b></a>,<b>&nbsp;</b>is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate&nbsp;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 <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/MasterCardNews" target="_blank"><b>@MasterCardNews</b></a><b>,&nbsp;</b>join the discussion on the&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/blog/" target="_blank"><b>Cashless Conversations Blog</b></a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/subscribe/" target="_blank"><b>subscribe</b></a>&nbsp;for the latest <a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/" target="_blank"><b>news</b></a>.</p> <i>Media contacts</i><p>Should you have any queries or would like to speak to Julienne Loh, vice president and country manager, Singapore, MasterCard Worldwide for more insights, please contact:</p> <p>Joey Phua<br> Weber Shandwick<br> <b><a href="mailto:JPhua@webershandwick.com" target="_blank">JPhua@webershandwick.com</a>&nbsp;</b><br> +65 6825 8010</p> <p>Wendy Toh<br> Weber Shandwick<br> <b><a href="mailto:wtoh@webershandwick.com" target="_blank">wtoh@webershandwick.com</a>&nbsp;</b><br> +65 6825 8038</p> <p></p> The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement is part of a sustained effort by MasterCard to measure the socioeconomic standing of women across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa.http://www1.mastercard.com/content/intelligence/en/research/press-release/2012/singapore-progresses-toward-gender-parity-mastercard-index-of-womens-advancement2012-04-22T16:00:00.000Z2012-04-22T16:00:00.000ZMasterCard Index Reveals Steady Socio-Economic Advancement for Women in Middle East and Levant Nadia EjazMasterCard Index Reveals Steady Socio-Economic Advancement for Women in Middle East and Levant <p><i>To tweet this news, copy and paste </i><a href="http://bit.ly/HPYYQl" target="_blank"><b><i>http://bit.ly/HPYYQl</i></b></a><i> </i><i>to your Twitter handle with the hashtag #MasterCard and #Women</i></p> <p><b><i>Dubai, 18 April 2012</i></b><b>:</b><b> </b><a>MasterCard</a> <b>(<a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/" target="_blank">http://newsroom.mastercard.com/</a>)</b> today announced the results of its latest Index of Women’s Advancement for the Middle East and Levant. The Index, which measures the socioeconomic level of women in relation to men, revealed an increasing recognition for women’s empowerment in recent years, signaling significant strides made by women in society.</p> <p>The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement is part of a sustained effort by MasterCard to measure the socioeconomic standing of women across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. The Index is comprised of five indicators: Business Ownership, Business &amp; Government Leadership, Workforce Participation, Regular Employment Opportunities and Tertiary Education<sup>[<a href="#1">1</a>]</sup>. Each indicator measures the ratio of women to every 100 men in each of the markets covered by the research.</p> <p>Scores are indexed to 100 to indicate how close or how far women in each market are to achieving socio-economic parity with men. A score under 100 indicates gender inequality in favor of males while a score above 100 indicates inequality in favor of females. A score of 100 indicates equality between the sexes. <i>The Index and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.</i></p> <p><a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/people/gtan/" target="_blank"><b>Georgette Tan, group head, Communications, Asia/Pacific, Middle East &amp; Africa</b></a>, commented: “Women’s socio-economic advancement starts at the basic level – from fostering confidence in girls through education, to giving women opportunities for skills development and regular employment. The results of the latest MasterCard Index show that even in challenging times societies are taking these issues seriously. We believe that increasing awareness about the important role of women in societies will ultimately improve their socio-economic standing.”</p> <p>Frontrunners among the Middle East and Levant markets were Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates with overall scores of 69.0 and 67.5, respectively. Following close behind are Qatar (67.1), Kuwait (63.5) and Oman (63.4), while Lebanon (51.8), Egypt (49.8) and Saudi Arabia (36.9) complete the list.</p> <p>All of the 8 markets have remained consistent or seen increases in their overall Index scores for at least the last three years. Of the Middle East and Levant markets, Egypt, Oman, the UAE and Qatar have seen increasing scores for the last three years.</p> <p>v&nbsp; <b>Enrollment rates for women in tertiary institutions surpass men for most Middle East and Levant markets</b></p> <p>In 7 of the 8 markets surveyed in the Middle East and Levant, women are on par or better represented in tertiary institutions than their male counterparts. This is the case in Qatar (558.7), Bahrain (273.1), Kuwait (243.1), the UAE (181.6), Oman (156.8), Lebanon (119.6) and Saudi Arabia (109.5).<br> </p> <p>It is also worth noting that, while not on par with men, women are also well represented in tertiary institutions in Egypt (85.4).</p> <p>v&nbsp; <b>Moving towards a level playing field in terms of regular employment opportunities</b></p> <p>In terms of regular employment, most markets included in the research offered equal opportunity for both men and women.<br> </p> <p>Lebanon, Oman, Bahrain, the UAE and Qatar reflected parity scores<a name="_ftnref2" href="#_ftn2"></a><sup>[<a href="#2">2</a>]</sup> above 100, and women in Kuwait (99.3) and Egypt (80.1) were also found to have strong employment opportunities as compared to males.<br> </p> <p>v&nbsp; <b>Room for growth in business/government leadership positions</b></p> <p>There is room for growth in encouraging women to take up positions as business and government leaders in the Middle East and Levant. According to the scores of the latest index, women business/government leaders are better represented than their male counterparts only in Bahrain. It is interesting to note that there are 313.6 women business/government leaders to every 100 males in the same position in this market.</p> <p>Women business/government leaders are also fairly well represented in the UAE (84.1), Oman (80.7) and Qatar (63.9). However, women are still underrepresented in this category in Saudi Arabia (53.5), Egypt (47.7), Kuwait (46.1) and Lebanon (27.8).</p> <p>v&nbsp; <b>Discrepancies in workforce participation rates<br> </b></p> <p>Most Middle East and Levant markets ranked poorly in terms of workforce participation rates for women.<br> </p> <p>Qatar (54.3) and Kuwait (52.7) were the only markets with more than 50 women in the workforce for every 100 men, with the rest of the market scores reflecting even lower levels of workforce participation.</p> <p>v&nbsp; <b>Gender disparity among small business owners</b></p> <p>Female business owners in the Middle East and Levant still require greater economic and social empowerment. All markets in the region included in the research had fewer than 50 female business owners for every 100 male business owners.</p> <p>Oman (38.9) scored the highest in this category, while Kuwait (22.9), Egypt (20.8) and Lebanon (14.4) had less women for every 100 men owning businesses in their country.</p> <p>MasterCard’s research on women’s advancement has shown that while more women have access to tertiary education and job opportunities, there is still room for improvement, especially when it comes to women owning their own businesses.<br> </p> <table width="645" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="1"> <tbody><tr><th class="table-description" colspan="7"><b>MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement</b></th> </tr><tr><th class="table-description" rowspan="2"><b>Market</b></th> <th class="table-description" rowspan="2"><b>Overall</b> <b>Score (2012)</b></th> <th class="table-description" colspan="5"><b>Five Indicator Scores</b></th> </tr><tr><th class="table-description"><b>Tertiary Education</b></th> <th class="table-description"><b>Business Owners</b></th> <th class="table-description"><b>Business &amp; Government Leaders</b></th> <th class="table-description"><b>Workforce Participation</b></th> <th class="table-description"><b>Regular Employment Opportunities</b></th> </tr><tr><td>Bahrain</td> <td>69.0</td> <td>273.1</td> <td>32.0</td> <td>313.6</td> <td>45.3</td> <td>113.5</td> </tr><tr><td>Egypt</td> <td>49.8</td> <td>85.4</td> <td>20.8</td> <td>47.7</td> <td>32.1</td> <td>80.1</td> </tr><tr><td>Kuwait</td> <td>63.5</td> <td>243.1</td> <td>22.9</td> <td>46.1</td> <td>52.7</td> <td>99.3</td> </tr><tr><td>Lebanon</td> <td>51.8</td> <td>119.6</td> <td>14.4</td> <td>27.8</td> <td>32.1</td> <td>150.2</td> </tr><tr><td>Saudi Arabia</td> <td>36.9</td> <td>109.5</td> <td>n/a</td> <td>53.5</td> <td>24.4</td> <td>n/a</td> </tr><tr><td>Oman</td> <td>63.4</td> <td>156.8</td> <td>38.9</td> <td>80.7</td> <td>35.4</td> <td>122.6</td> </tr><tr><td>UAE</td> <td>67.5</td> <td>181.6</td> <td>31.5</td> <td>84.1</td> <td>46.9</td> <td>105.8</td> </tr><tr><td>Qatar</td> <td>67.1</td> <td>558.7</td> <td>26.7</td> <td>63.9</td> <td>54.3</td> <td>102.7</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p><i>The scores above show the proportion of women to every 100 men for each category. Scores of over 100 are truncated to 100 when the overall Index score is derived, so as to ensure one component does not skew the overall Index score.</i></p> <p>For the full report go to: <a href="http://www.masterintelligence.com"><b>www.masterintelligence.com</b></a><br> </p> <p></p> <p></p> <p><a name="1"></a>[1] <i>This year, the index has been refreshed to reweight the 5 components from being equally weighted to one which puts the most emphasis on Workforce Participation. Apart from Tertiary Education, the other 3 components are related to workforce participation.</i></p> <p></p> <p></p> <p><a name="2"></a>[2]<i> Full breakdown of country scores can be found in the table below.</i></p> <p></p> <p></p> MasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties Asia/Pacific, Middle East & Africa <p>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&nbsp;MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement, Online Shopping,&nbsp;Index of Financial Literacy, and the&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/digital-press-kits/mastercard-global-destination-cities-index-2013/" target="_blank"><b>Index of Global Destination Cities</b></a>. In addition to the Indices, MasterCard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including Ethical Spending&nbsp;and a series on&nbsp;Consumer Purchasing Priorities&nbsp;(covering&nbsp;Travel,&nbsp;Dining &amp; Entertainment, Education,&nbsp;Money Management,&nbsp;Luxury&nbsp;and General Shopping).</p> <p>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.</p> <p>MasterCard has also released a series of four books on Asian consumer insights, authored by&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/people/dyuwa/" target="_blank"><b>Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong</b></a>, Global Economic Advisor for MasterCard Worldwide and published by John Wiley &amp; Sons.</p> About MasterCard Worldwide<p><a href="http://www.mastercard.com/index.html" target="_blank"><b>MasterCard</b></a>&nbsp;(NYSE: MA),&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mastercard.com/" target="_blank"><b>www.mastercard.com</b></a>,<b>&nbsp;</b>is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate&nbsp;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 <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/MasterCardNews" target="_blank"><b>@MasterCardNews</b></a><b>,&nbsp;</b>join the discussion on the&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/blog/" target="_blank"><b>Cashless Conversations Blog</b></a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/subscribe/" target="_blank"><b>subscribe</b></a>&nbsp;for the latest <a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/" target="_blank"><b>news</b></a>.</p> The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement is part of a sustained effort by MasterCard to measure the socioeconomic standing of women across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa.http://www1.mastercard.com/content/intelligence/en/research/press-release/2012/mastercard-index-reveals-steady-socio-economic-advancement-for-women-in-middle-east-and-levant2012-04-17T16:00:00.000Z2012-04-17T16:00:00.000ZBoosting Female Labor Participation Rates Key to Offsetting Asia’s Deteriorating Demographics: New MasterCard Report Asian Markets at a Glance<ul> <li><b>Japan and Newly Industrialized Countries (NICs) </b>(Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan) – These markets have all achieved very high levels of secondary education enrollment for women, however, on average the labor force participation rate for women is approximately 50% suggesting that more needs to be done in order to make the best use of the large cohort of educated females.<br> <br> </li> <li><b>Asian Tigers</b> (China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand) - This grouping appears to be following in the NICs footsteps of achieving a well-educated female workforce over the last two decades however, there has been little sign of a surge in female labor force participation rates which is currently at approximately 55%. Thailand and China have been particularly successful in nurturing high participation rates, more so than their peers in the same grouping.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><b>South Asia </b>(Bangladesh, India,<b> </b>Pakistan, Sri Lanka) – With the exception of Bangladesh, labor force participation rates across the subcontinent are the worst in Asia, with average&nbsp; workforce participation rates amongst women coming in below 40%. While the region has made big strides over the last two decades in terms of primary and secondary education enrollment, much remains to be done in boosting the female workforce.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <ul> <li><b>Emerging ASEAN </b>(Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam) <b>– </b>On measures of female education and employment, the progress seem good. Universal primary education has been achieved while secondary enrolment rates for women are on the rise. This bodes well for future productivity growth, especially if labor laws remain employer and investor friendly, and infrastructure is successfully upgraded.<b></b></li> </ul> <p>For the full report, please visit:<a href="/content/intelligence/en/research/reports/2013/women-power-and-economic-growth-in-asia-by-simon-ogus-with-intro.html">Women Power and Economic Growth in Asia</a></p> <p></p> About MasterCard <p><a href="http://www.mastercard.com/index.html"><b>MasterCard</b></a> (NYSE: MA), <a href="http://www.mastercard.com/"><b>www.mastercard.com</b></a>,<b> </b>is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate&nbsp;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 <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/MasterCardNews"><b>@MasterCardNews</b></a><b>, </b>join the discussion on the <a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/blog/"><b>Cashless Pioneers Blog</b></a> and <a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/subscribe/"><b>subscribe</b></a> for the latest news on the <a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/"><b>Engagement Bureau</b></a>.</p> The MasterCard report titled ‘Women Power and Economic Growth in Asia’ examines the contribution to economic growth made by women through a detailed analysis of women’s labor force participation in the key economies of East, Southeast and South Asia. Specifically, the study which looks at 17 markets in Asia aims to identify the role of education in boosting labor productivity.http://www1.mastercard.com/content/intelligence/en/research/press-release/2013/boosting-female-labor-participation-rates-key-to-offsetting-asia2013-09-22T16:00:00.000Z2013-09-22T16:00:00.000ZWomen from Asia Pacific's Emerging and Developed Markets Reveal Surprisingly Different Levels of Well-Being Georgette Tan, MasterCard, georgette_tan@mastercard.com, +65 6390 5971 Vasundhara Subrahmanian, Weber Shandwick, vsubrahmanian@webershandwick.com , +65 6825 8054 MasterCard Index of Women’s Advancement<p>Alongside the results of the Well-Being Index, MasterCard also announced the results of the latest Index of Women’s Advancement, which measures the socioeconomic standing of women across Asia/Pacific via three main indicators: Employment (Workforce Participation, Regular Employment), Education (Secondary Education, Tertiary Education) and Leadership (Business Owners, Business Leaders, Political leaders). Each indicator measures the ratio of women to every 100 men in each of the 14[<a href="#_ftn3">3</a>] Asia/Pacific markets covered by the research.</p> <p>Overall, amongst the 14 Asia/Pacific markets, New Zealand ranked first (77.9 Index Score), followed by Australia (76.0), the Philippines (72.9), Singapore (68.4) and Taiwan (65.9). At the other end of spectrum, India (39.2), Japan (48.3) and Korea (50.0) had Index scores indicating that much more can be done to achieve gender parity.<br> </p> <p>The full rankings for the MasterCard Index of Women’s Advancement can be found below.</p> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"> <tbody><tr><th class="table-description" colspan="2">MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women's Advancement</th> </tr><tr><td><b>Market</b></td> <td><b>Score</b></td> </tr><tr><td>New Zealand</td> <td>77.9</td> </tr><tr><td>Australia</td> <td>76.0</td> </tr><tr><td>Philippines</td> <td>72.9</td> </tr><tr><td>Singapore</td> <td>68.4</td> </tr><tr><td>Taiwan</td> <td>65.9</td> </tr><tr><td>Vietnam</td> <td>65.7</td> </tr><tr><td>Hong Kong</td> <td>63.7</td> </tr><tr><td>China</td> <td>61.9</td> </tr><tr><td>Thailand</td> <td>64.6</td> </tr><tr><td>Indonesia</td> <td>56.6</td> </tr><tr><td>Malaysia</td> <td>54.5</td> </tr><tr><td>Korea</td> <td>50.0</td> </tr><tr><td>Japan</td> <td>48.3</td> </tr><tr><td>India</td> <td>39.2</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p><i><a name="#_ftn3"></a>[3] Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.</i></p> MasterCard Index of Well-Being<p>The MasterCard Index of Well-Being is a new survey comprising 16 Asia/Pacific markets. Launched in January 2014, the Index aims to provide an in-depth measure of the level of well-being among nations in Asia/Pacific by examining the impact of wide-ranging factors such as work-life balance, cyber-crime and disease outbreak on respondents. Overall, the research reflects respondents’ attitudes towards five categories ranging from Work and Finances, Safety from Threats, Personal and Work Satisfaction, Personal Well-being and Sense of Empowerment. <br> </p> <p>Data collection was via internet surveys and face to face interviews, with the questionnaire translated to the local language wherever appropriate and necessary. <i>The Index and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.</i></p> MasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties<p>The MasterCard Index suite in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa includes the long-running <a href="/content/intelligence/en/search.tagstart.ConsumerConfidence.tagend.html">MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence</a>, as well as the <a href="/content/intelligence/en/search.tagstart.Women.tagend.html">MasterCard Index of Women’s Advancement</a>, <a href="/content/intelligence/en/search.tagstart.Shopping.tagend.html">MasterCard Survey on Online Shopping</a>, MasterCard Index of Financial Literacy, and the <a target="_blank" href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/digital-press-kits/mastercard-global-destination-cities-index-2013/">MasterCard Index of Global Destination Cities</a>. In addition to the Indices, MasterCard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including <a href="/content/intelligence/en/search.tagstart.EthicalSpending.tagend.html">Ethical Spending</a> and a series on Consumer Purchasing Priorities (covering <a href="/content/intelligence/en/search.tagstart.Travel.tagend.html">Travel</a>, <a href="/content/intelligence/en/search.tagstart.Dining.tagend.html">Dining &amp; Entertainment</a>, <a href="/content/intelligence/en/search.tagstart.Education.tagend.html">Education</a>, <a href="/content/intelligence/en/search.tagstart.MoneyManagement.tagend.html">Money Management</a>, Luxury and General Shopping).</p> <p>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 <a target="_blank" href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/people/dyuwa/">Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong</a>, Global Economic Advisor for MasterCard and published by John Wiley &amp; Sons</p> About MasterCard<p><b><u><a href="http://www.mastercard.com/index.html" target="_blank">MasterCard</a></u></b>&nbsp;(NYSE: MA),&nbsp;<b><u><a href="http://www.mastercard.com/" target="_blank">www.mastercard.com</a></u></b>,<b>&nbsp;</b>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&nbsp;<b><u><a href="https://twitter.com/#!/MasterCardNews" target="_blank">@MasterCardNews</a></u>,&nbsp;</b>join the discussion on the&nbsp;<b><u><a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/blog/" target="_blank">Cashless Pioneers Blog</a></u></b>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<b><u><a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/subscribe/" target="_blank">subscribe</a></u></b>&nbsp;for the latest news on the&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/" target="_blank"><b>Engagement Bureau</b></a>.</p> Contacts<p><b>Georgette Tan</b>,<br> MasterCard,<br> <a href="mailto:georgette_tan@mastercard.com">georgette_tan@mastercard.com</a>,<br> +65 6390 5971</p> <p><b>Vasundhara Subrahmanian</b>,<br> Weber Shandwick, <a href="mailto:vsubrahmanian@webershandwick.com"><br> vsubrahmanian@webershandwick.com</a> ,<br> +65 6825 8054</p> The MasterCard Index of Well-Being is a new survey comprising 16 Asia/Pacific markets. Launched in January 2014, the Index aims to provide an in-depth measure of the level of well-being among nations in Asia/Pacific by examining the impact of wide-ranging factors such as work-life balance, cyber-crime and disease outbreak on respondents.http://www1.mastercard.com/content/intelligence/en/research/press-release/2014/women-from-ap-emerging-and-developed-markets2014-03-05T16:00:00.000Z2014-03-05T16:00:00.000ZWomen Remain Under-represented in Asia Pacific Leadership Roles Despite Progress in Tertiary Education Contacts<p>Georgette Tan<br> MasterCard<br> <a href="mailto:georgette_tan@mastercard.com">georgette_tan@mastercard.com</a><br> +65 6390 5971<br> <br> Samantha Yong<br> Weber Shandwick<br> <a href="mailto:samyong@webershandwick.com">samyong@webershandwick.com</a><br> +65 6825 8053</p> The 2015 Index of Women’s Advancement marks the 9th series of MasterCard’s effort in tracking the progress of women towards gender parity based on Employment (Workforce Participation and Regular Employment), Capability (Secondary and Tertiary Education), and Leadership (Business Owners, Business Leaders and Political Leaders). The results reveal that the progress made by women towards gender parity in the majority of the 16 markets in Asia Pacific is sluggish with the large gaps in Leadership and to a lesser extent, Employment, remaining prevalent and an ongoing area of concern.http://www1.mastercard.com/content/intelligence/en/research/press-release/2015/Women-Remain-Under-Represented2015-02-26T16:00:00.000Z2015-02-26T16:00:00.000ZParents are crucial Influencers for girls pursuing STEM careers: Inaugural MasterCard Study Key findings:<ul> <li>Among the countries,&nbsp;<b>Australia</b>&nbsp;had the lowest uptake of STEM, with only&nbsp;<b>33&nbsp;percent</b>&nbsp;of girls surveyed (15 to 19 year olds) currently studying STEM subjects<b>. China (76 percent)</b>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<b>India (69 percent)</b>&nbsp;have the highest uptake of STEM among the students.</li> <li>The top reasons among girls (12 to 16 year olds) for not choosing to study STEM relate to interest levels and performance – girls find&nbsp;<b>STEM subjects difficult to study (40 percent)</b>&nbsp;and say they have&nbsp;<b>little/no interest in the subjects (32 percent).</b></li> <li>Girls think that other girls are not pursuing STEM primarily because of a&nbsp;<b>lack of interest</b>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<b>an imbalance of genders in STEM careers</b>&nbsp;(perception that STEM jobs tend to have more males than females working in them).</li> <li>Close to&nbsp;<b>one in five girls</b>&nbsp;surveyed recognized a level of gender bias when it comes to STEM careers.</li> <li>When considering STEM careers, the top reasons why girls are not considering STEM careers&nbsp;<b>relate to ability (32 percent)</b><b>&nbsp;</b>and&nbsp;<b>perception of gender bias (21 percent)</b>.</li> </ul> <p></p> Methodology<p>The MasterCard inaugural “Girls in Tech” research was conducted via an online survey with 1,560 girls aged 12 to 19 years old in six countries (Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore) in Asia Pacific. The interviews were conducted in December 2015 with parental consent.</p> About MasterCard<p>MasterCard&nbsp;(NYSE: MA),&nbsp;<b><a href="http://www.mastercard.com/index.html" target="_blank">www.mastercard.com</a></b>, 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&nbsp;<b><a href="https://twitter.com/mastercardap" target="_blank">@MasterCardAP</a></b>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/MasterCardNews" target="_blank"><b>@MasterCardNews</b>,</a>&nbsp;join the discussion on the&nbsp;<b><a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/asia-pacific/blog/" target="_blank">Beyond the Transaction Blog</a></b>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<b><a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/asia-pacific/subscribe" target="_blank">subscribe</a></b>&nbsp;for the latest news on the&nbsp;<b><a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/asia-pacific/" target="_blank">Engagement Bureau</a></b>.</p> Media Contacts<p><i>Georgette Tan,<br> </i><i>MasterCard,&nbsp;<br> <a href="mailto:georgette_tan@mastercard.com">georgette_tan@mastercard.com</a>, <br> +65 6390 5971</i></p> <p> <i>Yong Shi Yun, <br> Weber Shandwick,</i><i>&nbsp;<br> </i><i><a href="mailto:syong@webershandwick.com">syong@webershandwick.com</a>, <br> +65 6825 8084</i></p> Appendix: Data<p><i><b>Distribution by country: Percentage of girls currently studying STEM and those currently not studying STEM (15 – 19 year olds)</b></i></p> <table cellpadding="1" cellspacing="0" border="1"> <tbody><tr><th class="table-description"></th> <th class="table-description"><b>Currently studying STEM</b></th> <th class="table-description"><b>Currently not studying STEM</b></th> </tr><tr><td>Asia Pacific</td> <td>59.0</td> <td>41.0</td> </tr><tr><td>Australia</td> <td>33.0</td> <td>68.0</td> </tr><tr><td>China</td> <td>76.0</td> <td>25.0</td> </tr><tr><td>India</td> <td>69.0</td> <td>31.0</td> </tr><tr><td>Indonesia</td> <td>56.0</td> <td>44.0</td> </tr><tr><td>Malaysia</td> <td>59.0</td> <td>41.0</td> </tr><tr><td>Singapore</td> <td>63.0</td> <td>37.0</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p></p> <p><a name="_ftn1"></a><a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/asia-pacific/press-releases/parents-are-crucial-influencers-for-girls-pursuing-stem-careers/#_ftnref1"></a><a name="1"></a><i>[1]&nbsp;Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore</i></p> The MasterCard inaugural “Girls in Tech” research was conducted via an online survey with 1,560 girls aged 12 to 19 years old in six countries (Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore) in Asia Pacific. The interviews were conducted in December 2015 with parental consent.http://www1.mastercard.com/content/intelligence/en/research/press-release/2016/parents-influence-girls-stem2016-03-22T16:00:00.000Z2016-03-22T16:00:00.000ZWomen’s progress in employment and leadership stall in Asia Pacific About MasterCard<p>MasterCard&nbsp;(NYSE: MA),&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mastercard.com/index.html" target="_blank">www.mastercard.com</a>, 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&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/mastercardap" target="_blank">@MasterCardAP</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/MasterCardNews" target="_blank">@MasterCardNews,</a>&nbsp;join the discussion on the&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/asia-pacific/blog/" target="_blank">Beyond the Transaction Blog</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/asia-pacific/subscribe" target="_blank">subscribe</a>&nbsp;for the latest news on the&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/asia-pacific/" target="_blank">Engagement Bureau</a>.</p> Media Contacts<p><b>Georgette Tan</b>&nbsp;<br> MasterCard,&nbsp;<br> <a href="mailto:georgette_tan@mastercard.com" target="_blank">georgette_tan@mastercard.com</a>,<br> +65 6390 5971</p> <p><b>Georgina Mallory</b><br> Weber Shandwick, <br> <a href="mailto:gmallory@webershandwick.com" target="_blank">gmallory@webershandwick.com</a>,<br> +65 6825 8026</p> <p><b>Samantha Yong</b>&nbsp;<br> Weber Shandwick,&nbsp;<br> <a href="mailto:samyong@webershandwick.com" target="_blank">samyong@webershandwick.com</a>,<br> +65 6825 8053<i></i></p> <p></p> Footnotes<p><i><a name="1"></a>[1] New Zealand, Australia, Philippines, Singapore, China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Nepal, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan</i></p> <p></p> The 2016 Index of Women’s Advancement marks the 10th series of MasterCard’s effort in tracking the progress of women towards gender parity based on Employment (Workforce Participation and Regular Employment), Capability (Secondary and Tertiary Education), and Leadership (Business Owners, Business Leaders and Political Leaders). The results reveal that despite more women than men in Asia Pacific having tertiary education, there still exists a large gender gap that hinders women from achieving their full economic potential be it through participation in the workforce or presence in leadership positions. http://www1.mastercard.com/content/intelligence/en/research/press-release/2016/women-progress-employment-leadership-stall2016-03-02T16:00:00.000Z2016-03-02T16:00:00.000ZAsia Pacific’s developed markets provide more conducive supporting conditions for women entrepreneurs than emerging markets Methodology<p>The Index measures female entrepreneurs’ ability to capitalize on opportunities granted through various supporting conditions within their local environments and is the weighted sum of two components which are derived from five indicators each: “Level of Women’s Advancement and Entrepreneurial Factors” (Workforce Participation Rate, Participation in Parliament, Business Leaders, Obtained Funds by Saving or Borrowing to Start, Operate, or Expand Business, Inclined to Start Own Business within the Next Five Years) and “Supporting Conditions” (Secondary Education, Tertiary Education, Own a Debit Card, Financial Influence at Home, Perceived Safety from Threat of Violent and Financial Crime). The overall Index score and five indicator Index scores range from 0 (worst) to 100 (best).</p> Mastercard and its Suite of Research Properties<span style="text-align: justify;">The Mastercard Index suite in Asia Pacific includes the long-running&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.masterintelligence.com/content/intelligence/en/search.tagstart.ConsumerConfidence.tagend.html" style="text-align: justify;">Mastercard Index of Consumer Confidence</a><span style="text-align: justify;">, as well as the&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.masterintelligence.com/content/intelligence/en/search.tagstart.Women.tagend.html" style="text-align: justify;">Mastercard Index of Women’s Advancement</a><span style="text-align: justify;">,&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.masterintelligence.com/content/intelligence/en/search.tagstart.MoneyManagement.tagend.html" style="text-align: justify;">Mastercard Index of Financial Literacy</a><span style="text-align: justify;">, and the&nbsp;</span><a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/digital-press-kits/mastercard-global-destination-cities-index-2013/" target="_blank" style="text-align: justify;">Mastercard Index of Global Destination Cities</a><span style="text-align: justify; color: blue;">.</span><span style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;In addition to the indices, Mastercard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including</span><a href="http://www.masterintelligence.com/content/intelligence/en/search.tagstart.Shopping.tagend.html" style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;Online Shopping</a><span style="text-align: justify;">,&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.masterintelligence.com/content/intelligence/en/search.tagstart.EthicalSpending.tagend.html" style="text-align: justify;">Ethical Spending</a><span style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;and a series on Consumer Purchasing Priorities (covering&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.masterintelligence.com/content/intelligence/en/search.tagstart.Travel.tagend.html" style="text-align: justify;">Travel</a><span style="text-align: justify;">,&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.masterintelligence.com/content/intelligence/en/search.tagstart.Dining.tagend.html" style="text-align: justify;">Dining &amp; Entertainment</a><span style="text-align: justify;">,&nbsp;</span><a style="text-align: justify;">Education</a><span style="text-align: justify;">,&nbsp;</span><a style="text-align: justify;">Money Management</a><span style="text-align: justify;">, Luxury and General Shopping).</span><p></p> About Mastercard<p>Mastercard (NYSE: MA), <a href="http://www.mastercard.com/index.html" target="_blank">www.Mastercard.com</a>, 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 <a href="https://twitter.com/mastercardap" target="_blank">@MastercardAP</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/MasterCardNews" target="_blank">@MastercardNews</a>, join the discussion on the <a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/asia-pacific/blog/" target="_blank">Beyond the Transaction Blog</a> and <a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/asia-pacific/subscribe" target="_blank">subscribe</a> for the latest news on the <a href="http://newsroom.mastercard.com/asia-pacific/" target="_blank">Engagement Bureau</a>.</p> Contacts<p><i>Georgette Tan,<br> Mastercard,<br> <a href="mailto:georgette.tan@mastercard.com">georgette.tan@mastercard.com</a>,<br> +65 6390 5971</i></p> <p><i>Samantha Yong,&nbsp;<br> Weber Shandwick,<br> <a href="mailto:samyong@webershandwick.com">samyong@webershandwick.com</a>,&nbsp;<br> +65 6825 8053</i></p> <p><b><u>Footnotes</u></b></p> <p><a name="1"></a>[1] Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam<br type="_moz"> </p> <p></p> The Mastercard Index measures female entrepreneurs’ ability to capitalize on opportunities granted through various supporting conditions within their local environments and is the weighted sum of two components: “Level of Women’s Advancement and Entrepreneurial Factors” (geared towards measuring the degree of bias against women as workforce participants, political and business leaders, as well as the financial strength and entrepreneurial inclination of women) and “Supporting Conditions” (gauge the degree of access women have to basic and advanced knowledge assets, access to basic financial services, women’s perception of safety levels and cultural perception of women’s household financial influence). These are in turn derived from 10 indicators, measured on a scale of 0 (worst) to 100 (best).http://www1.mastercard.com/content/intelligence/en/research/press-release/2016/developed-markets-women-entrepreneurs2016-08-17T16:00:00.000Z2016-08-17T16:00:00.000Z