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toward “soft” social sectors and away from “hard” areas such as business (World Bank 2006c). Social biases affect not only the type of work perceived to be suitable for women, but also the degree to which women are generally accepted in the workforce. A World Values survey reveals that, in many countries in the region, people believe that employers should prefer male job applicants during high-unemployment periods (EIU, forthcoming). In Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand, more than half the survey respondents agreed that men have more of a right to a job when jobs are scarce (see figure 2.11). The global data based on this survey question suggest that attitudes matter in determining women’s economic opportunity in the labor market. Figures 2.12 and 2.13 depict how the female-to-male ratios of paid workers and female-to-male earnings ratios, respectively, correlate to the percentages of survey respondents who agreed that men should be preferred for jobs when jobs are scarce. The relationship is negative in both cases, even when controlling for GDP per capita. In other words, the more people in a country who think that men should have the first shot at jobs, the more one might expect to find Figure 2.11 Social Attitudes toward Value of Men's and Women's Employment, Selected East Asian and Pacific Economies Philippines Malaysia Thailand Indonesia Vietnam China Korea, Rep. of Japan Singapore Hong Kong, China Australia New Zealand 0


20 30 40 50 60 70 survey respondents saying men should be preferred for scarce jobs, %

Source: World Values Survey, 1981–2008, Note: Figure displays the percentage of respondents in each economy who agreed with the following statement: “ When jobs are scarce, men should have more right to a job than women.”


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...