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Economic Opportunities for Women in the East Asia and Pacific Region

and Pacific and high-income regions. Indeed, a paper by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) finds that the region is “losing $42–47 billion per year because of restrictions on women’s access to employment opportunities—and another $16–30 billion per year because of gender gaps in education” (UNESCAP 2007). However, the gap is much smaller in the East Asia and Pacific region than in other developing regions; compare, for example, the median East Asia and Pacific country with the median country in the Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, or Middle East and North Africa regions (figure 1.4). Some inequalities, such as lower mandatory retirement ages for women, are driven by gender differentiation in laws and statutes, but such

Figure 1.4

Labor Force Participation, by Sex

(% females/males 15+)


80 Suriname 60

40 Turkey


ca Af ri

As ia h

ra n

ut Su





hi gh

in co m Ea e st As ia an d Eu Pa ro cif pe ic an La tin d Ce Am nt ra er lA ica sia an d th e M Ca id dl rib e be Ea an st an d No r th Af ric a



Source: International Labour Organization. Note: Boxes show 25th to 75th percentiles. Bars within the boxes show the median value. End bars show the upper and lower adjacent values. Regions are defined according to World Bank Group Classification. “High income” designates all those countries (regardless of geography, except if they are in the Middle East) whose gross national income per capita (Atlas Method) in 2008 was greater than US$11,906. For definition of geographic and high-income regions, see note to figure 2.7.

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...