12/05/2022, 15.35
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Women in Asian are (almost) the richest in the world

Only in North America are women richer, but growth in Asia is the fastest in the world. The number of women billionaires in Asia has gone from 13 in 2010 to 92 in 2022. At the same time,  inequalities have also grown with peaks in China and South Asia.

Milan (AsiaNews) – For the first time in history, women in Asia hold more wealth than their counterpart in any other region except North America, but their growth potential is the fastest in the world.

Women in Asia will own US$ 27 trillion in assets (investment funds, listed and unlisted stocks, bonds, etc.) by 2026; that is US$ 6 trillion more than women in Western Europe, this according to a study by Boston Consulting Group for Nikkei Asia.

Since 2019, their overall wealth rose by US$ 2 trillion a year, a trend that is expected to continue in the coming years with a growth rate of over 10.5 per cent.

In Asia, the number of women billionaires has gone from 13 in 2010 to 92 in 2022. Yet, 75 per cent of the female workforce continues to work in the informal sector, where employment is precarious, with low wages and no social protection.

Indeed, economic inequality is a key element in Asian economies, where the richest 10 per cent of the population owns more than 60 per cent of the wealth, leaving around 5 per cent to the bottom 50 per cent.

The gap is even wider in India and China, the two most populous countries on the continent. In fact, South Asia and China have some of the worst indicators.

While more and more women have entered the labour market in the last 30 years, the figures vary from country to country, ranging from 7.4 per cent in Pakistan to almost 42 per cent in Vietnam, shaped by social and cultural factors.

In India, for example, caste divisions have played an important role in the growth of inequality. A Dalit (once called "untouchables") woman is much more likely to be poor than a woman from higher castes.

More broadly, labour force participation is determined by the level of education, marriage age,  and the number of children.

According to Nikkei Asia, some progress has been reported in all of the countries examined (education levels are up, women marry later and have fewer children), but this has not always translated into greater women's participation in the labour market.

In China, it has actually fallen to 33.4 per cent from 40 per cent in 1991, while it has experienced a sharp decline India too since 2005.

The amount of unpaid care work also affects the likelihood of employment (and therefore the possibility of accumulating wealth).

In Bangladesh, for example, women have to spend up to six hours on providing care, while men have to spend less than one hour on average.

Finally, the accumulation of wealth is also determined by the ability to save and invest, and other major differences have been noted.

In India and Bangladesh, most women rely on friends and family in case of a financial emergency; by contrast, 60 per cent of Pakistani women or nearly 90 per cent of Singaporean women rely on their own savings.

However, not all women are able to save money; in many countries savings have dropped.

In China, the percentage of women saving money has gone from 70 per cent in 2014 to 45.7 per cent in 2017, but similar decreases have also been recorded in Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

More than 60 per cent of women rely on financial institutions in Singapore, but only 1.9 per cent in Pakistan.

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“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”