Asia is touted to be the fastest growing region in the world. Be it in terms of productivity, investment, technology, or innovation, Asian countries have been making steady progress. While the wheels of growth are in motion, there exists one demographic that is yet to be an equal part of the progress, i.e. Asian women.
The region is ridden with deep challenges pertaining to gender equality. Underutilization of the female population and its talent seems to be a burning issue across most Asian countries. According to the 2018 gender gap report released by The World Economic Forum, various Asian nations fared rather poorly in terms of gender equality across various parameters of growth. Out of 149 countries, the major Asian nations, China ranked 103rd, India 108th, Indonesia 85th, Japan 110th, South Korea (Korea) 115th, Malaysia 101st, Thailand 73rd, and Vietnam 77th. The evaluation which was made by looking at women's role in country's economic participation, educational attainment, health & survival, and political empowerment showed us the harsh reality of how far we need to go to attain gender balance in Asia.
When talking about development and growth of women, we often look at and talk about the West. However, it is important to note that the factors at play in the Asian nations are quite different from the rest of the western world. Asian countries are known for still keeping traditions and culture quiet close to heart, along with religious beliefs which still impact women and their lower status in the society. This pervades into the workplace and corporate structures as well. A majority of companies still struggle with gendered workplaces strife with cultural, religious, and organizational constraints. We have also noted that appointment of women in top leadership roles and C-suite still remains an uphill battle (as much in Asia as the rest of the world).
These structural and cultural challenges were intensified over the past three years owing to the pandemic. According to another report by the World Economic Forum, the global pandemic widened gender inequality in Asia. Amidst all the challenges and difficulties, Asian women have never backed down and continue to take strides towards creating a more gender balanced workforce and corporate world.
Of late, entrepreneurship has been on the rise. More and more Asian women have been establishing businesses of their own. It is heartening to see their gradual yet steady rise in the Asian startup ecosystem. Overcoming the various handicaps that the system has rendered them with, these women entrepreneurs are leveraging every opportunity that they can to boost business development. Our future generations have some fine role model to look up to, and the current edition of Women Entrepreneur Magazine is celebrating such women. Read on to know more about these inspirational Asian women and the innovative companies that they have established.
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