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What Can We Do to Accelerate Economic Equality Between Men and Women in Southeast Asia?


  • Gender equity is a critical challenge to economic growth in Southeast Asia
  • Investing in Women is working to expand access to capital
  • The project formed business coalitions of leading regional employers
The Challenge

Gender inequality is a critical challenge to economic growth in Southeast Asia. Harnessing and leveraging women's economic potential has the power to create jobs, drive economic growth, and transform economies. This could change the lives of millions of women and men while adding trillions to the global economy.

The Approach

Investing in Women is an Australian government initiative led by Abt Associates that’s working in partnership with the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar. The project’s goal is to accelerate women's economic empowerment in the region, and in turn, contribute to inclusive economic growth in Southeast Asia. It aims to do so by tackling the issue on four fronts:

  • Partnering with large employers to prioritize gender equality as a business imperative;
  • Working with impact investors to expand women's access to capital;
  • Partnering with governments to promote equality through policymaking; and
  • Advocating and campaigning to challenge bias, stereotypes and attitudes that hold back both men and women.
The Results

The project brought together leading employers in Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Myanmar to form business coalitions to lead the way on achieving gender equality goals in their organisations and beyond. The project is working with impact investors, leveraging private capital, and helping investors apply a gender lens to their investment process and close the financing gap for women. And Investing in Women is identifying women’s economic empowerment issues and encouraging partner government regulatory reform.

By collaborating with corporations and business leaders, impact investors and entrepreneurs, and governments and advocates, Investing in Women is building the business case and spearheading the campaign for women's economic equality in Southeast Asia.