Gender Equality and Discrimination in Asia and the Pacific

Gender discrimination costs lives. Close to 100 million women in Asia are estimated to be 'missing' because of discriminatory treatment in access to health and nutrition, pure neglect, or pre-birth sex selection. Here are 12 things to know about gender equality in Asia and the Pacific.

  1. In South Asia, more women die in childbirth – 500 for every 100,000 live births – than in any other part of the world except Sub-Saharan Africa. The proportion of deliveries attended by skilled birth attendants is as low as 18% in Bangladesh, 19% in Nepal, and 20% in the Lao PDR.
    Source: ADB, Paths to 2015 MDG Priorities in Asia and the Pacific
  1. Many Asian women report experiencing physical violence from their intimate partners - 30% of women in Viet Nam; more than 40% in Bangladesh, Samoa, and Timor-Leste; and more than 60% in Kiribati, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.
    Source: UNSTATS, UNDP. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India: National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) Volume III
  1. An extra year of primary school encourages girls to marry later in ilfe and have fewer children. It also makes them less likely to experience violence and increases their eventual wages by 10-20 percent.
    Source: Council of Foreign Relations 2004 - What Works in Girls' Education: Evidence and Policies from the Developing World
  1. In Pakistan a half kilometer increase in the distance to school will decrease girls' enrolment by 20%. In Afghanistan, Indonesia and several other countries, building local schools in rural communities has led to increases in girls' enrolment rates.
    Source: UN Women: CSW 56 - Facts and Figures on Rural Women
  1. Only 30% of women in Asia and the Pacific are in non-agriculture wage employment, with only 20% in South Asia—the lowest among the world's regions.
    Sources: ADB, Paths to 2015 MDG Priorities in Asia and the Pacific; FAO, IFAD & ILO, Gender Dimensions of Agricultural and Rural Employment
  1. Nearly 50% of women in South Asia and over 60% in the Pacific Islands are still concentrated in agriculture. Unpaid work on family agricultural enterprises accounts for 34% of informal employment for women in India.
    Sources: ADB, Paths to 2015 MDG Priorities in Asia and the Pacific; FAO, IFAD & ILO, Gender Dimensions of Agricultural and Rural Employment
  1. Gender inequality in wage differentials remains entrenched, with women typically earning 70%–90% less of the male wage (50% in Bangladesh and 80% in Mongolia).
    Source: ADB & ILO, Women and labor markets in Asia: Rebalancing for gender equality
  1. In the East Asia and Pacific region, output per worker could be 7-18% higher if female entrepreneurs and workers were in the same sectors, types of jobs and activities as men, and had the same access to productive resources.
    Source: World Bank, Towards Gender Equality in East Asia and the Pacific: A Companion to the World Development Report, 2012
  1. Across the East Asia and Pacific region, female-headed households own less land than male-headed households. Few women own farms despite the fact that 40% of the region's women are employed in agriculture.
    Sources: World Bank Towards Gender Equality in East Asia and the Pacific: A Companion to the World Development Report, 2012; FAO, The State of Food and Agriculture 2010-2011
  1. If women had the same access to productive resources as men in agriculture, they could increase yields on their farms by 20 - 30 percent. This could raise total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5 - 4 percent, which could in turn reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12 - 17 percent
    Source: FAO, The State of Food and Agriculture 2010-2011
  1. Many food insecure countries also exhibit low Gender Inequality Index rankings - Afghanistan (135), Bangladesh (116), and PNG (133), Cambodia (88) and the Lao PDR (95).
    Source: UNDP Human Development Report 2010
  1. A study of women elected to local government in India found that female leadership positively affected the provision of services for both men and women. Of the 22 countries where women constitute more than 30 percent of the national legislature, 18 have some form of quota for addressing gender gaps.
    Sources: World Bank, Towards Gender Equality in East Asia and the Pacific: A Companion to the World Development Report, 2012; UNIFEM, Who Answers to Women? Gender and Accountability
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