Power to Asia’s Women

From birth, girls in Asia face significant obstacles to fulfilling their human potential – especially their potential for leadership. It is time to remove the barriers: empowering Asia’s women will benefit them and enrich the entire region.

SHANGHAI – Everyone’s eyes on are Asia’s rise. China, once dismissed as poor and backward, is now the world’s second-largest economy. India, with its huge population, scientific prowess, and entrepreneurial vitality, is another powerful engine of Asian growth. Add to this Japan and South Korea’s formidable economies, and Southeast Asia’s dynamism, and a picture emerges of rising wealth, confidence, and leadership.

Yet few women in Asia make it to the top. Social norms undervalue girls and women, with sex-selection abortions resulting in an estimated 1.3 million girls per year not being born in China and India alone.

Still, women have benefited from Asia’s economic development. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2011, rising prosperity has narrowed gender inequality in many countries. Women are making progress in health, education, economic opportunity, and political empowerment, which they can leverage for future leadership.

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