Follow us on:
Search the Knowledge Hub

Women’s Economic Empowerment in Asia



Policy Brief

Influencing Gender Norms Impact Investing Workplace Gender Equality

Women’s Economic Empowerment in Asia

Women’s Economic Empowerment in Asia

The Women’s Economic Empowerment in Asia policy brief by the Asian Development Bank explores the challenges facing women in business and in the workplace, considers the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on women’s economic empowerment, and provides policy recommendations for addressing these challenges to strengthen women’s economic empowerment.

Key Findings

Amid the ongoing challenges to gender equality and COVID19 impacts, certain policy recommendations are proposed to strengthen women’s economic empowerment:

  • Support women in business by promoting alignment and improving reporting and accountability systems, particularly for gender-disaggregated data collection.
  • Invest in the care economy and industry to relieve women’s burden on unpaid care and domestic work and spare them time to look for professional opportunities.
  • Develop gender-responsive policies and offer skills development for women and girls to enhance their ability to join the labour force in a wider range of industries.
  • Enhance gender diversity in leadership and the decision-making process for better design of gender-responsive policies in empowering women and achieving the Sustainable Development Goal on gender equality (SDG5).
  • Support women entrepreneurs by adopting inclusive gender entrepreneurship via gender-based procurement and increasing access to finance.


  • Introduction
    • Key Points
  • Challenges
    • Women in business
      • Lack of formal financing
      • Gender-inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystems
    • Women in the workplace
      • Unequal labour participation
      • Gender pay gaps
      • Underrepresentation of women in management positions
      • Unequal burden of unpaid care work and motherhood penalty
      • Lack of reporting and accountability system
  • Covid-19 impacts on women’s economic empowerment
    • Worsened economic and health status
    • Increased burden of unpaid care work and mental stress
    • Less access to healthcare, social protection and financial aid
    • Increased gender-based violence
  • Policy implications
    • Promote alignment, reporting and accountability system
    • Invest in the care economy to address unpaid care burden
    • Enhance female labour participation
      • Improve equal labour participation through policies and skills development
      • Enhance gender diversity in leadership and decision-making process as strengthening gender-responsive policies
    • Enable gender-inclusive entrepreneurship
  • References

This policy brief was originally published on the Asian Development Bank website.

to top