leads the South Asian women empowerment, though they fair poorly compared
Sri Lanka, famous for
having the world’s first female head of state elected democratically ranked low
in terms of the Leadership component (12.6) and specifically the Political
Leaders sub-indicator (6.1).
Nepal leads the South Asian markets with an overall score of 55 and a high
proportion of women in the workforce (92), according to the latest MasterCard
Index of Women’s Advancement.
“Bangladesh and Sri Lanka follow with overall scores of 45.5 and 43.8
respectively, while India (38) and Pakistan (23) round off the lower end of the
spectrum,” it said, adding that women are struggling to attain socioeconomic
equality with men in South Asia with some of the poorest scoring nations coming
from the Indian subcontinent.
It is the first year that Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have been
included in the Index.
On the other hand, women in Nepal came out tops in terms of the Political Leaders sub-indicator (49.6), not only in South Asia but across Asia/Pacific, for their strong representation in paraliament.
The employment component of this year’s Index had Bangladesh (75.5) topping the list with over 75 women for every 100 men in the workforce. Sri Lanka (66.7), Nepal (59.2), India (43.6) and Pakistan (39.7) followed behind. Pakistan had the lowest scores across the Asia/Pacific region in terms of Leadership (3.5) with just over three women as business owners for every 100 men.
All five markets ranked well in the third component — Education — with a strong showing of scores across both Secondary and Tertiary sub-indicators. While progress is seen in the field field of education, MasterCard’s research stresses the importance of ensuring women receive more access to job opportunities and leadership positions in business and government once they graduate.
"It is well established that a country’s social and economic development is closely tied to factors including access to education, employment and political leadership opportunities," Division President of South Asia Ari Sarker said. "While South Asia has recently witnessed an increase in the attention and focus by both public and private sectors towards affirmative action for women, much remains to be done in the march towards gender equality," he said, adding that as emerging economies in the region step up to establish their presence in the global economy, it is important that the barriers preventing women in these markets from seizing economic opportunities be eliminated.