Gender equality is a global issue with limitations on basic human rights. Men and women both face challenges as a result of socially constructed rules that have been embedded in their daily lives since birth. Equal rights and equal opportunities for men and women in all aspects of life, including the community, workplace, and organization, are critical for a sustainable future. Although substantial progress has been made in Asian countries in terms of gender issues during the previous several decades, there are still numerous hurdles to overcome.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, gender prejudice is increasingly pervasive in several Asian societies.
“The proportional differences between Asian women and men on measures of health, education, economy, and politics are substantial, and not improving significantly”(World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, 2020).
According to one statistic, about 100 million Asian women are missing as a result of unequal treatment in access to health and nutrition, simple neglect, or pre-birth sex selection.
In addition to the above mentioned, a recently published global Gender report highlights the vast disparities in health, education, business, and politics between Asian men and women, which are not decreasing fast enough through these days. According to the report’s results, discrimination against women appears to be prevalent in most Asian societies. (World Economic Forum, 2020)
Many Asian women report being physically abused by their intimate relationships, including 30% of women in Vietnam, more than 40% in Bangladesh, Samoa, and Timor-Leste, and more than 60% in Kiribati, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. (National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) Volume III, Government of India)
Despite the fact that women perform the majority of farm labor in Asian countries, agricultural employment is not a source of emancipation for women. The explanation for this is rooted in rural society’s ancient norms. The farm is considered basically an extension of the house in agrarian society, and the home is the focal point of gender inequality in patriarchal societies.
According to a research report, gender inequality in wage differentials persists, with women often earning 70% to 90% less than males (50 percent in Bangladesh and 80 percent in Mongolia). (ADB, 2011)
It is also a fact that women’s freedom of movement and decision-making abilities in South Asia is always restricted. Many Indian women face obstacles while attempting to leave the house, let alone pursue paid job. The majority of ever-married women in India experienced limited freedom of mobility, according to data from the National Family Health Survey 1998/9 (NHFS-2). For example, only 32% of women say they don’t need permission to go to the market, and only 24% say they don’t need permission to see friends or relatives. Women who earn money, as expected, have much more freedom.
Globally, little fewer than four women hold leadership positions in industry and politics for every ten men. In Asia-Pacific, just one woman for every four men holds a position of leadership. In certain East Asian nations, there are between 12 and 20 women leaders for every 100 men. However, Thailand indicates a higher percentage of women working in senior leadership roles than both the Asia-Pacific region and the global average, according to a report. (Women in Business Report, 2020). Women hold 32 percent of senior leadership roles in Thailand’s mid-market enterprises, which is higher than the global average of 27 percent and the Asia-Pacific average of 26 percent.
In 2015, research was conducted on gender equality in the workplace in Asia Pacific, with a focus on seven nations. Basically Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, and Singapore were considered for the research. In terms of gender equality at work, the Philippines leads the way, followed by New Zealand and Singapore. Bangladesh, India, Japan, Nepal, Pakistan, and South Korea are the six countries with the least gender parity at work.
China does well in terms of female labour-force participation, and like most Asian countries can increase the proportion of women in leadership positions. But, Gender imbalance in the distribution of unpaid care duties remains prevalent throughout the region.
There is a long way to go to achieve complete gender equality in all aspects, notably in the Asin region. However, access to girls’ education, participation in parliament elections, and create pathways for women’s employment, access to healthcare, are some of the major areas where policymakers should work to bring about change in the Asian region on gender issues.
National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) Volume III, Government of India