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The East Asia and Pacific region as a whole has made substantial progress in improving economic opportunities for women, but significant intraregional differences and important challenges remain. Aspiring entrepreneurs continue to face regulatory, institutional, and cultural barriers to starting and operating businesses. These barriers, which harm the economic prospects of individual women, also ultimately impede poverty reduction and economic growth in the region’s countries as a whole. Increasing participation in quantitative terms is not enough. Genuine equality requires that women enjoy the same opportunities as men—including opportunities to take entrepreneurial risks and be their own bosses. Researchers often find scant data on such barriers for women—including limited access to assets, business regulatory and governance issues, and obstructed avenues for expanding businesses and trading with larger markets. Economic Opportunities for Women in the East Asia and Pacific Region brings together the data for the first time and conducts a systematic analysis. The authors present recommendations and highlight entry points for policy changes that have the potential to engender private sector development by increasing economic opportunities for women in the region. The authors identify a hierarchy of constraints and suggest areas for reform that may be tailored to the needs of different countries. A more level economic playing field can unlock hidden growth potential. Bringing about greater economic equality will be a long-term process and will require changes in institutions and established ways of operating and doing business. It will also require changes in the subtle, cultural contexts in which women-led businesses operate. This book will interest policy makers, donors, nongovernmental organizations, and researchers who want to further examine the constraints holding back female entrepreneurs in East Asia and the Pacific.

“ The Asia-Pacific region has been growing fast in recent years, but to lay the foundation for post-recession growth and to be as successful as possible, it will be crucial for the region to unleash women’s economic potential. I hope that in highlighting the many challenges women face, this publication can contribute to this goal.” —Melanne Verveer, United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues

ISBN 978-0-8213-8300-1

SKU 18300

Economic Opportunities for Women in the East Asia and Pacific Region  
Economic Opportunities for Women in the East Asia and Pacific Region  

The East Asia and Pacific region has made great progress, relative to other regions, with regard to both economic development and, specifica...