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Access to Assets

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provisions guaranteeing gender equality in control, exchange, and inheritance of property. In China, for example, the Law on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women and the Marriage Law give women equal land rights, including in situations of marriage, divorce, and inheritance (World Bank n.d.). Rural customs dictate, however, that when a woman marries a man from another village, she must move to his village and leave her land behind, thus abrogating her rights to use land in her home village (ADB 2006a). In Cambodia, too, while the 2001 land law sets out equal land rights, women’s ability to take advantage of these rights is lessened by customary views that the man is the head of the household and therefore responsible for the household’s land (ADB 2004). Similarly, in the Philippines, women have the equal right to enter into contracts under the Philippines Women in Development and Nation Building Act (Act No. 7192), yet in practice women often need their husbands’ consent for land-related transactions (World Bank n.d.). A case study of a female entrepreneur in the Philippines provides a telling illustration of this barrier (see box 2.1).

Box 2.1

Case Study Excerpt The Philippines: Pacita Juan Chief executive and owner, Figaro Coffee Pacita Juan combined a taste for coffee and a nose for deals to develop a successful business model: franchising. Franchising has not only helped Juan’s business become the second-largest coffee company in the Philippines, but also helped other aspiring entrepreneurs overcome problems such as lack of credit and red tape in business start-up. Starting a business and getting access to credit can be particularly challenging for Filipino entrepreneurs. The Philippines scored 155 in the 2009 Doing Business Starting a Business Indicator, requiring an average of 52 days and 15 procedures (World Bank 2008). In the Doing Business Getting Credit Indicator, it ranked 123rd globally out of 181 countries (World Bank 2008). “Women have a lot of informal small businesses that aren’t scalable because women don’t have the means to take them to the next level,” Juan says. Realizing that there could be a different way for her business to scale up, Juan turned to franchising her emerging brand. Figaro awarded its first franchise in 1998. (continued)

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...