Inequality remains a challenge across the world. The East Asia and the Pacific (EAP) region is not an exception. In the Pacific, two out of three women experience violence in their lifetime and places such as Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands rank at the very bottom of global indices for women’s economic opportunity. In Myanmar, only three out of the 100 largest Myanmar companies are run by female CEOs while socio-cultural norms, especially around childcare, affect women’s access to education and jobs. In Vietnam, the financing gap for women-owned enterprises is estimated at $1.2 billion.
Overall, in Asia Pacific, advancing women’s equality could add $4.5 trillion to their collective annual GDP in 2025, a 12% increase over the business-as-usual trajectory.
IFC works with partners in the private sector to close gender gaps, advance gender equality as smart business, and improve women’s access to more and better jobs. In EAP, we focus on building the business case for gender equality in the workplace by providing research and case studies that demonstrate how it can drive productivity, profitability, and performance
We promote peer learning platforms which enable companies to distil best practice, learn from each other, and drive positive change. We also provide tools and resources to recruit, retain, and promote women.
We work with companies to identify gender-smart solutions. We help them assess their needs and develop tailored action plans using methodologies such as EDGE, the world’s leading certification for gender equality at the workplace. We advise them on how to increase opportunities for women by offering a wide range of solutions such as leadership training, financial literacy courses, childcare, flexible work arrangements, and positions in jobs traditionally held by men. In addition, we help companies build respectful workplaces by adopting policies for addressing sexual harassment, bullying, and domestic violence.
We also work with financial institutions. We build the business case for gender finance and help banks develop and promote financial and non-financial products tailored to women as a separate market segment.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Advancing gender equality in Solomon Islands through the Waka Mere initiative
Papua New Guinea