East Asia and the Pacific
With an average remaining gender gap of just under 32%, the East Asia and the Pacific region scores in the middle of the range of the Global Gender Gap Index. With New Zealand and the Philippines, the region is home to two of the overall Index’s top 10 performers, both having closed over 79% of their total gender gap—far ahead of the region’s next best-placed country—while the lower half of the region’s economies are yet to cross the 70% threshold. The region is also home to three of the five most-improved countries over the past decade on the Health and Survival subindex. However, out of the 18 countries in the region only three—Mongolia, Cambodia and Japan—have fully closed that gap. In fact, with a regional average of just under 94%, East Asia and the Pacific is the lowest-ranked region globally on this subindex. Only two countries in the region have currently fully closed their Education Attainment gender gap, the Philippines being one of the two. However, half of the countries in the region have closed the gender gap for professional and technical workers, indicating a relatively successful integration of tertiary educated, higher-skilled women into the labour force.
Among the 18 countries covered by the Index in the region this year, nine countries have increased their overall score compared to last year, while seven have decreased their score. Two countries in the region joined the Index this year: Fiji and Myanmar.
New Zealand (9) and The Philippines (10) maintain their overall Index top 10 rankings on the back of strong scores on closing the Political Empowerment gender gap, and despite the Philippines’ drop on the wage equality for similar work indicator on the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex. Australia (35) rises several ranks to become the third-ranked country in the region. This is due to progress towards gender parity in the country’s share of legislators, senior officials and managers, as well as to notable improvements on the Political Empowerment subindex, with an increased share of female parliamentarians as well as women in ministerial positions. Australia’s Educational Attainment gender gap remains fully closed but it experiences some widening of its Health and Survival gender gap. It is followed by Mongolia (53) which also increases its overall score and ranking, largely due to similar factors. The next-ranked country is Lao PDR (64), which this year experiences a noticeable widening of its gender gap after two years of solid progress. Decreases in parity in basic literacy and wage equality for similar work are largely the cause, although they are partly counter-balanced by improvements in tertiary enrolment—continuing a multi-year trend towards parity—and women’s share of estimated earned income. For the second year running, Lao PDR fully closes the gender gap in labour force participation—one of only five countries (and the only non-African one) to do so.
The next-ranked country is Singapore (65), which continues to widen its gender gap in estimated earned income on the Report’s revised scale for this indicator, although the country records small improvements elsewhere on the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex: most notably, on women’s labour force participation and progression, including a multi-year trend towards near-parity in technical and professional workers. It also improves its ranking on the Health and Survival subindex due to increased parity in healthy life expectancy. Vietnam (69) experiences a decrease in gender parity for women in ministerial positions while Thailand (75) sees a notable increase. Both countries have fully closed their gender gaps on the technical and professional workers and enrolment in tertiary education indicators. Myanmar (83) enters the Global Gender Gap Index for the first time. It has closed its gender gap in secondary and tertiary enrolment, as well as women’s share of technical and professional roles, and achieves near-parity in overall labour force participation. However, Myanmar’s gender gap in legislators, senior officials and managers remains wide, and it is yet to achieve gender parity in basic literacy as well as on the Health and Survival subindex. Indonesia (84) and Cambodia (99) continue to close their overall gender gaps, with each rising several spots on the overall Index. Indonesia sees progress in wage equality for similar work and Political Empowerment but declines on its previously fully closed gender gap in professional and technical workers for the second year running. Cambodia, meanwhile, records notable increases in women’s share of legislator, senior official and management roles as well as enrolment in tertiary education. Its Health and Survival gender gap remains fully closed.
China’s (100) progress towards gender parity has slowed. It has fully closed its gender gap in professional and technical roles and women’s tertiary enrolment, while recording a small decrease in wage equality for similar work this year. However, it remains the world’s lowest-ranked country with regard to the gender gap in its sex ratio at birth. Brunei Darussalam (102) continues to make small but noticeable progress on closing its Political Empowerment subindex gender gap, although the Index also highlights the continued existence of large income gender gaps in the country. Similarly, Malaysia (104) continues to record small but steady progress on closing its Political Empowerment gender gap and women’s share of estimated earned income. Newly available data highlights the fact that the country has fully closed its gender gaps in primary, secondary and tertiary enrolment.
Japan (114) sees reversals of progress on the Political Empowerment subindex counter-balance notable progress on the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex. This is due, in part, to increases in gender parity for wage equality for similar work, women’s estimated earned income and the country’s share of female legislators, senior officials and managers as well as professional and technical workers. Japan has also experienced a multi-year trend towards near-parity in enrolment in tertiary education, which would result in the country fully closing its Educational Attainment gender gap for the first time. It has also fully closed its Health and Survival gender gap for the first time since 2011. Korea, Rep. (118), meanwhile, records progress on the Political Empowerment subindex and on parity in tertiary enrolment, but also a small decrease in women’s share of estimated earned income and in perceptions of wage equality by the country’s business community.
Fiji (125) re-enters the Global Gender Gap Index, after insufficient data coverage for inclusion in the Report last year. Updated data for the country reveals a larger-than-before gender gap in the country’s share of female legislators, senior officials and managers as well as professional and technical workers. Timor-Leste (128) takes the bottom spot in the East Asia and the Pacific region. The country has closed its gender gap in primary and secondary education and performs comparatively well on its share of female members of parliament, despite a decrease in the latter this year. However, a significant gender gap remains on its Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex.