SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 13, 2011 — Girls and women are a fallow and underdeveloped resource in the Asia Pacific region. An enormous amount of work needs to be done to bring the numbers of women in leadership positions in business, government, and civil society to a level that matches the true gender ratio. The work of numerous governmental, intra-governmental, and non-governmental organizations has been commendable. Yet, the situation remains that even in the highest represented member economy, women occupy only 15.7% of corporate board seats, top government positions are woefully underrepresented, and girls’ literacy rates and education opportunities lag behind those of their male counterparts. From the most basic levels pertaining to girls’ education and security, to the level of small business entrepreneurship, and to the level of top governmental and corporate leadership positions, women remain undervalued and their skills or potential underutilized and underdeveloped. Consequently, the Asia Pacific region is not optimizing one of its fundamental human resources for economic growth: potential women leaders.
The Asia Society Next Generation Women’s Leadership Advisory Committee proposes 10 urgent action items that can boost APEC’s efforts to develop a larger and stronger presence of women leaders in the Asia Pacific in order close the gender gap and maximize the contribution of women to the economic development of the region. Our recommendations are posed at two levels: to address the key challenges confronting women in the workplace, and to expand women’s opportunities for development before they enter the workplace. The recommendations seek to foster women’s leadership development for economic growth and offer clear gains for all involved.
To download the white paper, please follow the link above.
In order to fully develop and ensure a next generation of female leaders, the Asia Society Next Generation Women’s Leadership Advisory Committee strongly recommends that APEC and its member economies should take the following actions:
From the Classroom:
To the Boardroom:
Mei Pin Phua, Writer; Asia 21 Fellow
Jumaatun Azmi, Founder and Managing Director, KasehDia; Asia 21 Fellow
Mitsuru Claire Chino, Corporate Counsel, Itochu Corporation; Asia 21 Fellow
Alexandra Harney, Author, Blakemore Freeman Fellow, Tsinghua University; Asia 21 Fellow
Michelle Lee, Intern, Asia Society
Sara Segal-Williams, Intern, Asia Society
The completion of this white paper would not have been possible without the contribution of Asia Society’s Asia 21 Fellow Mei Pin Phua. Within a very tight schedule, Mei Pin worked tirelessly across international time zones, to draft this concise yet comprehensive white paper and synthesize excellent suggestions and input from the members of the Advisory Committee, also comprised of Asia 21 Fellows. The Asia Society also owes a special thanks to Michelle Lee and Sara Segal-Williams, two amazing research associates who complemented Mei Pin’s gusto and painstakingly carried out research and multiple revisions of the paper. We could not have asked for a better team to work on the paper.