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Access to Assets

37

Box 2.2 (continued)

me down after they met the woman behind the business concept. Even today, gender discrimination continues with unequal requirements by banks for proof of creditworthiness.� This situation was previously exacerbated by a high minimum paid up capital requirement, which encouragingly has since been abolished. Coming from a wealthy Korean family, Sung-Joo was ultimately able to turn to her businessman father for a start-up loan, a luxury not available to most potential entrepreneurs. Sung-Joo also encountered problems with the Republic of Korea’s complex business registration regime; a total of eight different procedures are required; it was even more cumbersome when Sung-Joo began in business in the 1990s. Given her frustration with the cumbersome procedures, Sung-Joo decided to pay an incorporation expert to ensure her new company was in regulatory compliance. Despite this expert assistance, it took several months to register her company in 1990. For those who cannot afford to hire an expert to help them manage the process, registration procedures can be even more daunting. These obstacles make starting a business especially difficult for women, who are less likely to have the needed money, time, or contacts to navigate the process. Sources: World Bank 2009, 2010.

Such de facto discrimination is found in several developing countries in the region. In China, increasing unemployment has created tensions in the labor market, apparently exacerbating the tendency toward gender discrimination in employment. Reportedly, some job postings openly express a preference for male employees in many areas. Recent female graduates with good qualifications are often less likely to be hired than males with lower credentials (Li and others 2002; ADB 2006a). More systematic research would shed light on the degree and severity of such discrimination in the workplace as well as its dimensions: glass ceilings in management, unequal hiring practices, de facto restrictions on job types, and so forth.

Internal Assets: Human Capital and Time The success of enterprises is partly a function of the skills and time of those who run them. If women lack the right business skills, they are

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...