The Good, the Bad, and the Hopeful – Marking International Women’s Day Across the Asia Pacific

Yesterday was International Women's Day, an opportunity to note the achievements and struggles facing women and girls around the world.

For the occasion, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) released its The Long Road to Equality report on the progress made since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was adopted at the 4th World Conference on Women in 1995. The report notes that despite progress in areas like women’s representation, overall, improvements have been uneven.

In December, the World Economic Forum released its annual Global Gender Gap Report, also showing uneven progress on gender equality. For example, while ‘East Asia and the Pacific’ has closed its overall gender gap to 69 per cent, progress towards gender parity on economic, education, health, and political indicators has been very slow, with only a 2.5-point gain since 2006. In comparison, South Asia has closed its gender gap to 66 per cent and is the region with the most progress, improving by six percentage points since 2006.

In this Special Edition of Asia Watch, we bring you reports from four sub-regions – Northeast Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania – that touch on a range of specific challenges women are facing in the Asia Pacific today, including sexual violence, pay gaps, and other labour issues.