Filipina trailblazer rues gender gap in ASEAN workplace

Michelle Ong, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 31 2017 01:22 PM | Updated as of Aug 31 2017 02:35 PM

MANILA - The first Filipina to make partner in global consulting form McKinsey and Co on Thursday rued how inequality between men and women persists in Southeast Asian labor markets.

Women on average contribute only 40 percent to the region's economy compared to 60 percent from men. Women are also either unpaid or low paid, said Kristine Romano.

Citing a World Value survey, Romano said that in Malaysia, women think that men make better political leaders, resulting in fewer women in government.
"There’s something fundamental about underlying attitude and belief," she said. Romano.

The gender gap widens as women go higher on the corporate ladder, said Shreyasi Jha an adviser for gender at the United Nations Children's Fund.

“Majority of women participate in lower-tier, mid-level and elementary level, you find these are dominated by women, and as you move higher up – the proportion of men goes up, women declines," she said.

Upbringing plays an important part in how Southeast Asian women develop stereotypes, attitudes and biases towards gender, Jha said.

Women leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are in Manila this week to draft a statement on female empowerment, which they will submit to regional leaders in November.