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Women’s Socioeconomic Standing Advances in Five Markets in Asia

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MasterCard Worldwide has released the findings of its fifth MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement. This is the fifth year that MasterCard has released this Index and key findings from the Index include:

 Australia, China, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand See Increase Overall Index Scores from 2008

- Australia saw the biggest rise (16.9 points) in its Index score, followed by Thailand (13.1), New Zealand (10.5), Singapore (10.2) and China (8.9).

- Scores across markets in the region differed widely, ranging from a low of 37.8 in India to a high of 96.1 in Australia.

Australia had the highest Index score, followed by Thailand (91.5) and New Zealand (90.5).

Singapore Boasts Highest Proportion of Women to Men Perceiving Themselves in Managerial Positions, with India at the End of the Other Spectrum

- Across Asia Pacific, the ratio of women to men who saw themselves in a managerial role at work rose from 51 women per 100 men to 57 women per 100 men.

- Singapore had the highest ratio of women to men who saw themselves in a managerial role (86 women per 100 men), followed by China (75) and Australia (74).

- New Zealand showed the biggest increase in the Index in this indicator, with 71 women to every 100 men now believing they are in managerial positions, compared to just 37 last year. On the other hand, Taiwan (30) and Korea (20) saw the biggest drop in the region, their scores decreasing by 27 points.

- India had the lowest score for this indicator, with only 12 women to every 100 men believing they were in managerial positions.

Thailand Sees Largest Increase in Proportion of Women to Men Perceiving Themselves to Be Earning Above Median Income

- Compared with 2008, Thailand (+40 points to 83), Australia (+33 points to 92) and Singapore (+32 points to 98) saw the largest increase in their scores for Above Median Income.

- Across Asia Pacific, the ratio of women to men who saw themselves as earning above median income work fell slightly from 57 women per 100 men to 53 women per 100 men.

- Singapore ranked the highest in Asia Pacific for this indicator, with 98 women per 100 men indicating that they earn above the median income, followed by Australia (92) and Thailand (83).

- Markets which had the lowest ratio of women to men who perceived themselves as earning above median income were India (22 women per 100 men), Korea (23) and Taiwan (31).

Women More Confident than Men in 7 Markets in Asia Pacific

- In terms of consumer confidence across Asia Pacific, women in seven of the 14 markets surveyed were slightly more positive than men in terms of their overall outlook for the next six months – Hong Kong (41.3 for women vs. 40.9 for men), India (68.8 for women vs. 61.3 for men), Japan (17.4 for women vs. 16.9 for men), Malaysia (38.9 for women vs. 33.7 for men), Philippines (40.9 for women vs. 39.2 for men), Singapore (63.3 for women vs. 61.6 for men) and Vietnam (90.8 for women vs. 86.3 for men).

- Among the 5 indicators - Employment, Economy, Regular Income, Stock Market and Quality of Life -women in the following markets were more confident than their male counterparts in terms of outlook for the next six months.

Economy: Women from South and South-East Asia - India, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam - as well as Australia, Hong Kong and Japan

Stock Market: Women mainly from South and South-East Asia - Indonesia, India, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. The only other market outside of South and South-East Asia in which women were more confident than men pertaining to Regular Income was Taiwan.

 Employment: Women from India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam.

 Regular Income: Women from Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Philippines and Singapore

 Quality of Life: This indicator had women from most of the markets showing more optimism compared to their male counterparts. Women from 10 of the 14 Asia Pacific markets reflected this - Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.

- Vietnamese women (90.8) were the most positive in the region in their outlook for the next six months, followed by women from China (75.0), India (68.8) and Singapore (63.3). Women from Japan (17.4) were the least positive about their outlook for the next six months, although they were marginally more optimistic compared to their male counterparts (16.9).

More than 50% of Females in 9 Markets See Themselves as the Major Financial Decision Maker in Their Households

- More than 50% of the women surveyed in nine of the 14 Asia Pacific markets saw themselves as the one who makes most of the major financial decisions for the household.

- Topping the list was Thailand (77.8% of the women surveyed), followed by Korea (74.4%), China (73.2%), Vietnam (68.8%), Indonesia (59.6%), the Philippines(57.6%), Japan (54.4%), Taiwan (54.2) and New Zealand (50.5%).

- Across Asia Pacific, 76.9% of the women who considered themselves as household decision makers were working, with 47.6% of them perceiving themselves as being in a managerial position. The majority of these women were aged between 31 and 45.


The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement measures the socioeconomic level of women in relation to men using four key indicators:

-  Two of the indicators are based on source data from national statistics bureaus and show the ratio of female to male participation in the labor force and tertiary education.

-  Two of the indicators are based on survey data and measure the ratio of female to male respondent perceptions of whether they hold managerial positions at work and earn above median income. These subjective factors are a gauge of how empowered and valuable respondents feel at work.

The resulting Index figure calculated from these indicators shows how close or how far women in each market are achieving socioeconomic parity with men.

A score under 100 indicates gender inequality in favor of males while a score above 100 indicates inequality in favor of females. A score of 100 indicates equality between the sexes. The Index and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.

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