Women Managers in Asia: Untapped Talent
IN THE West, women typically make up 10-20% of upper management and company boards. They are relatively lucky. A report from McKinsey, a consultancy, shows that Asian women lag far behind.
There are exceptions. In Australia women’s share of board and executive-committee jobs is roughly on a par with that in America and parts of Europe. Singapore too has a large number of women in senior management (see chart). But elsewhere the picture is mostly dire, and not necessarily because the countries concerned are poor. In Japan and South Korea, both rich, women are about as likely to sit on boards as men are to serve tea.
One reason why so few women in Asia get plum jobs is that in most countries far fewer of them are in the workforce than in the West, where their labour-force participation rate is usually around 60-70%. In India only about one woman in three has a formal job, though millions sweat on farms and in family businesses. Education is unequal, too. In 2009-10 only 10-15% of students entering the elite Indian Institutes of Management were female. But even in Asian countries where plenty of women leap from college onto the corporate ladder, they do not climb as high as men.