Progress and Challenges in Gender Pay Parity Across Asia-Pacific

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gender pay disparities
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Australia has made strides towards gender pay parity but still lags behind New Zealand and other developed nations. However, in the broader Asia-Pacific region, gender pay gaps persist, reflecting deep-rooted obstacles to women’s financial security and job access.

Gender Pay Gaps in Asia: Asia continues to grapple with significant gender pay disparities, with women facing challenges in securing employment and often being relegated to informal or low-skilled sectors. The International Labour Organization highlights the prevalence of unpaid family work among women in the region, exacerbating economic inequality.

Challenges in Measuring Gender Pay Gaps: The informal economy in Asia complicates the accurate measurement of gender pay gaps. Elizabeth Hill of the University of Sydney points out that women are disproportionately employed in this sector, where wages are notably lower than in formal employment settings.

Stagnating Progress in East Asia and the Pacific: Despite efforts, progress towards gender pay parity in East Asia and the Pacific has stagnated for over a decade. The World Economic Forum warns that at the current pace, the region may take nearly two centuries to achieve gender parity.

Regional Disparities: Countries like Pakistan, India, Japan, and Myanmar exhibit significant gender pay gaps, with disparities of 35 percent or more. However, the Philippines stands out with a pay gap comparable to that of Australia and New Zealand.

Australia’s Efforts and Challenges: Australia has taken steps to address gender pay disparities, with recent legislation mandating transparency in pay data for private sector employers. While progress has been made, challenges remain, particularly in male-dominated sectors where pay gaps persist.

New Zealand Leading the Way: New Zealand has made remarkable strides in closing the gender pay gap, ranking among the top five countries globally with the smallest gaps. Its success underscores the importance of concerted efforts towards pay equality.

Call for Action: UN Women emphasizes the urgent need for pay equality, highlighting the risk of millions of women worldwide falling into poverty without it. It calls for continued efforts to address gender pay disparities globally.

While Australia progresses towards gender pay parity, challenges persist across the Asia-Pacific region. Addressing deep-rooted obstacles and fostering inclusive policies are crucial steps towards achieving economic empowerment for women.

Re-reported from the article originally published in The scmp.com

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