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Economic Opportunities for Women in the East Asia and Pacific Region

On the positive side, many countries in the region have taken significant steps toward unleashing the economic potential of women: • Reforming the legal property-rights framework to remove discriminatory provisions against women • Improving the business environment by simplifying business entry and adopting e-government processes and “one-stop shops” where businesses can complete required government importing and exporting procedures • Increasing opportunities for productive women-led businesses to grow above and beyond the micro and small sectors This publication presents evidence that the region could benefit further from significant unrealized gender-related growth potential. Many reasons for this are country specific. At the regional level, however, several commonalities emerge: • Whereas laws are mostly equal for men and women on paper (unlike countries in developing regions such as the Middle East, South Asia, or Africa), institutions may not adequately implement these laws in a gender-equal manner, because of lack of capacity, will, or both. • Cultural attitudes and normative discrimination still prevent women and girls from participating equally with men as paid workers, as business operators and owners, and as asset holders. • Regulations governing business start-up, operation, and growth often unduly constrain both women and men, but they may affect women more severely because women tend to have less time to deal with onerous regulations due to often-unequal family and household responsibilities. • Women continue to receive less business training and development than men, and the proverbial glass ceiling often prevents women from getting the managerial experience that can help them succeed as entrepreneurs. • Workplace policies—such as maternity leave provision, statutory retirement ages, and affordable child care—are often not friendly to women. Unlocking the hidden growth potential of greater economic equality will require more than changes to government policy and practice. It will also require transformation of the subtle cultural context in

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...