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Asia Pacific today is becoming one of the most innovative regions in the world, driven by strong productivity, investment, technology, and innovation. The dynamic and tech-savvy workforce plays a pivotal role in maintaining and enhancing Asia’s growth. Economic gains, however, still have not translated into equal opportunities for women and men despite many efforts to lift more people out of poverty made by powerful women.
State of workplace gender equality in Asia Pacific
Gender inequality across Asian Pacific region (Source: MGI)
According to a research on gender equality in Asia Pacific conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), there is a strong link between gender equality in work and in society about the role of women – the former cannot be achieved without the latter element. The participation of women in the workforce is constrained due to uneven share of domestic work, perpetrated by the notion that women have to take care of more household tasks than men do.
MGI uses Gender Parity Index (GPI) to measure countries’ distance toward parity (set at 1.00). A score of 0.56, which is slightly lower than the global average of 0.61, reveals that gender inequality remains a pressing problem in Asia Pacific. On equality in work, all nations have much progress to make before attaining parity. With a GPI of 0.55, Vietnam stays in the middle within the region and still has a long way to go – as do most countries in Asia.
Furthermore, although the number of women who are managers or business owners has been on the rise lately, with examples in Vietnam being Ms. Le Diep Kieu Trang (Christy Le) – GoViet CEO or Ms. Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao – VietJet Air CEO, etc., Asian women are still very much underrepresented in leadership positions. It’s estimated there is only one woman in managerial roles for every four men.
Additionally, as in other parts of the world, women in Asia Pacific also have to face significant wage gaps in almost, if not every, job position and industry despite similar levels of background and education.