Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Which ASEAN country does best on gender equality?

Mark Jones
Head of Digital Content, The World Economic Forum
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Gender Inequality

Ahead of the World Economic Forum’s East Asia Regional Meeting on April 19, we’re looking at how countries in the ASEAN group compare on key issues. The Philippines is by far the best-performing of the 10 ASEAN members in the World Economic Forum’s 2014 report on the Global Gender Gap and the only country in the region to make the top 10 globally.

The report ranks 142 countries on their ability to close the gender gap – making sure women are not held back – in four areas: economic participation and opportunity, education, health and survival, and political empowerment. The ASEAN group as a whole is progressing. Of the nine countries for which there is data (Myanmar did not take part) there is an average gap of 30.7% against a figure of 31.1% for the 2013 report.

GenderEquality

The Philippines (9th) ranks strongly for economic participation and wage equality. It has narrowed the education, health and survival gaps, and is the second-best country (after Norway) on the ability of women to rise to positions of leadership in enterprise. It also has the highest percentage of firms with female participation in ownership (69%).and has entirely closed the gender gap in education with more females than males at primary, secondary, and tertiary levels.

Singapore (59) ranks 18th globally for equality in economic participation and opportunity, has achieved gender equality in earned income, and is the country with the lowest total fertility rate.

Lao PDR (60) ranks fifth in the world for equality of labour force participation, and is 13th globally for equality of opportunity and participation in the economy.

Thailand (61) has narrowed its gender gap on measures of health and survival, and ranks fourth in the world for perceived equality of wages. The country has, however, seen a significant drop in its score for political empowerment of women.

Vietnam (76) has the second-lowest ranking for the balance of genders at birth, though this is partially offset by Vietnamese women’s healthy life expectancy.

Indonesia (97) has closed the gender gap in education with more females than males in primary, secondary and tertiary education. But the country has been slipping on measures of female political empowerment.

Brunei (98) has achieved gender parity in the areas of earned income and female enrolment in secondary and tertiary education but also scores poorly on empowerment.

Malaysia (107) has improved on measures of economic participation and opportunity and ranks 5th in the world for perceptions of wage equality for similar work. It has also closed the gender gap on tertiary education.

Cambodia (108) scores well on measures of health and survival where it is ranked as one of the global leaders. It ranks 40th in the world for parity in earned income, but is weak on political empowerment.

Author: Mark Jones is Commissioning Editor for the World Economic Forum

Image: Girls and women residents perform “Aerodance” exercises during a fitness event marking International Women’s month, in Mandaluyong city, March 15, 2015.. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco 

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