Women are playing an increasingly active role in South-East Asian economies. At the same time, there is significant evidence for distinct but related gendered constraints to doing business. Informality, low-value addition and low productivity tend to characterize women’s entrepreneurship, with women-owned businesses mainly operating in low-skilled jobs in the agriculture or services sectors.
A range of actions can alleviate these constraints when pursuing business environment reform (BER). These include including taking a gender mainstreaming approach, widening social dialogue and elevating women’s voices, mapping a greater range of economically active women from the informal economy, and building a gender-sensitive enabling environment post-COVID.
Promoting Gender Sensitive Business Environment Reform in South-East Asia: A Compendium of Solutions identifies and brings together emerging solutions implemented by employers' organizations in Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam to advance women-owned and women-led enterprises. The report also outlines key takeaways as well as recommendations for way forward in the economic, social and political domains to support employers' organizations in championing a more gender sensitive BER in the region.
Empowering women in the economy is key for a thriving business environment. Hence, ACE emphasizes the importance of improving women's access to leadership, education, finance, information and business. As a representative of the business and private sector in ASEAN, ACE promotes gender equality in ASEAN broadly, and in the workplace particularly. ACE sees that higher gender equality in a country would improve productivity and quality of living.Hariyadi B. Sukamdani, President, ASEAN Confederation of Employers (ACE)