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MasterCard Worldwide Index of Womens Advancement

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Women across Asia Pacific are feeling slightly more empowered, based on the findings from the latest MasterCard Worldwide Index of Womens Advancement. In particular, a slightly higher proportion of women perceive themselves to be earning above median income 80 women per 100 men across the region compared to 75 women per 100 men in 2009.

The pan-regional Index score is up slightly from last year, coming in at 85.57 this year from 84.47 in 2009. The score for labor force participation is holding at 71 women per 100 men while tertiary education enrollment rate (106 in 2009 to 107 in 2010) continues to increase from last year. There has however been a slight dip in indicator score in terms of women seeing themselves in a managerial role from 86 in 2009 to 84 this year.

Seven of the 14 Asia Pacific markets [Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam] are witnessing a rise in their scores India, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines and Taiwan.

The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Womens 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.

The research also shows more women seeing themselves as making most of the major financial decisions in their households. This is seen in 11 of the 14 Asia Pacific markets. In particular, Australia (+35 percentage points), Hong Kong (+31.7 percentage points ) and Malaysia (+30.5 percentage points) boast the greatest increase in the percentage of women who perceive themselves as controlling the households purse strings compared to last year.

Women continue to make strides in labor force participation and tertiary education enrollment and we are glad to see this translating into a greater sense of self worth in terms of their earning capabilities. This may explain the increased number of women who are viewing themselves as the major financial decision maker in their households. It is heartening to note that women are feeling more empowered. As a company, MasterCard is committed to helping women reach their potential with our range of initiatives such as our scholarship and CSR programs, said Georgette Tan, vice president, Communications, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

MasterCard has a range of initiatives that seeks to empower women, including the U21 Global Scholarship for Women in Travel and Tourism which was launched in 2006 to provide working women professionals a program to develop their leadership skills and realize their full potential in the area of travel and tourism. The program comprises scholarships given out for the U21Global Executive Diploma of Business Administration that can articulate into The University of Nottingham MSc in Tourism and Travel Management. It also supports women through its work with organizations such as Rags2Riches in the Philippines and the Mitrataa Foundation in Nepal, which seek to train women with skills to make a livelihood.

The Female Consumer How Confident is She in Her Outlook?

Across Asia Pacific, female consumers (MasterCard Worldwide Consumer Confidence Index score: 66.8) are slightly more confident about the next six months compared to their male counterparts (65.7). This is driven by optimism towards the economy (72.2), the stock market (69), regular income (66.5), employment (64.9) and quality of life (61.2).

In terms of the respective markets in Asia Pacific, women in Australia, India, Indonesia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam are more confident about the next six months compared to the men.

The Female Decision Maker Who is she and what are her spending priorities?

Across Asia Pacific, the female household financial decision maker is typically aged between 31-45 years old (43% of respondents) and working (62 %).

She plans to maintain similar levels of discretionary spend and saving over the coming six months. In terms of her purchasing priorities, the purchase of white goods (as indicated by 85% of respondents) is the top priority, followed by dining and entertainment (62%) and fashion and accessories (53%).

MasterCard Worldwide Index of Womens Advancement

Market 2007 2008 2009 2010
Australia 85.05 78.47 99.45 87.50
China 89.85 79.15 93.44 90.88
Hong Kong 86.86 87.82 84.42 80.62
India 54.05 57.02 70.12 81.46
Indonesia 77.78 79.62 75.29 96.79
Japan 70.75 72.40 72.19 66.26
South Korea 68.36 62.63 69.95 81.09
Malaysia 70.30 71.80 66.96 93.51
New Zealand 103.52 83.79 96.30 97.37
Philippines 100.83 95.87 72.04 86.15
Singapore 88.23 86.51 102.21 79.11
Taiwan 88.30 81.91 71.40 75.65
Thailand 82.89 82.62 97.91 97.36
Vietnam 88.19 88.67 86.69 76.59
Asia Pacific 83.72 79.24 84.47 85.57

   The Index figure 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.

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