Women in the Philippines ranked third in achieving economic parity with men in the Asia-Pacific region, with New Zealand ranked first followed by Australia.
The MasterCard’s latest index of women’s advancement survey showed that much more can be done to achieve gender parity.
MasterCard’s research also revealed that while more women have access to job opportunities and tertiary education in Asia-Pacific, there are still barriers preventing them from taking top positions in the government or private sector.
At 91.2, New Zealand tops the region for workforce participation and regular employment with over 90 women for every 100 men in the regular workforce.
New Zealand women also lead the region for top jobs in the private sector and government withan overall leadership score of 51.6.
In seven Asia/Pacific markets – China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam – women are on par or better represented in secondary and tertiary institutions than their male counterparts.
However, their representation in leadership roles in business and government are still low across the region.
All but one market – New Zealand – had fewer than 50 women business-government leaders for every 100 male business/government leaders, according to the scores of the latest index.
Across the 14 Asia-Pacific markets, only Australia (49.7) and the Philippines (45.6) came close to gender parit.
Markets that scored especially low in this category include India (15.9) Japan (14.8), Korea (17.5) and Thailand (18.6).
Georgette Tan, group head of communications for Asia-Pacific, Middle East & Africa, said: “There is still a lot to be done in our region to enhance the role of women across all aspects of society; there are still too few women leaders in government and business, and not enough women-owned and run businesses.”
“There are standout markets which have repeatedly improved in terms of advancing opportunities and access for women, but more needs to be done,” she added.
When asked what would help improve women’s societal standing, MasterCard’s latest survey on Consumer Purchasing Priorities – Education found that women in Asia-Pacific view affirmative action (17.1%) and more seats in parliament (13.7%) as policies that would advance women’s role in society.
Parental childcare entitlement tops the list of key policy areas Australian, Japanese and South Korean women see as crucial for advancing women’s role in society.
In China, Malaysia and Taiwan, however, women see SME opportunities as the most pressing need to achieve gender parity in their societies.