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6 Mar, 2014

New Zealand Top, India at the Bottom of MasterCard Index of Women’s Advancement in Asia Pacific

Singapore, 6 March 2014 (MasterCard Media release) – Women in Asia Pacific’s emerging markets tend to have more positive views of their own well-being when compared to their developed counterparts, according to the inaugural MasterCard Index of Well-Being being launched today.

The Index, based on a survey of 16 Asia Pacific markets, aims to measure the level of well-being among nations by examining the impact of wide-ranging factors such as work-life balance, cyber-crime and disease outbreak on respondents.

In the lead-up to International Women’s Day, MasterCard is releasing a special edition of the research focusing on women’s well-being across the region. The research covered women’s attitudes towards five categories: Work and Finances, Safety from Threats, Personal and Work Satisfaction, Personal Well Being and Sense of Empowerment. The Index is calculated with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as most optimistic and 50 as neutral, and respondents’ thoughts on the six months ahead.

The spread of the overall Well-Being index values across the 16 Asia Pacific markets shows all of them above the neutral (50 point) mark bracketed by Myanmar (70.9) and Indonesia (70.0) on the high end and Japan (53.6) and South Korea (54.9) on the low end.

The seven developed markets[1] featured on average lower scores (average of 58.9) than emerging markets[2] (65.7). Women in the North East Asia cluster of Japan (53.6), Korea (54.9) and Taiwan (55.0) fell below the average for developed markets. On the emerging markets front, Malaysia (58.0) and Bangladesh (55.3) are visibly below the emerging market average.

“At first glance, the contrast in scores between developing and emerging markets seems to suggest that a higher standard of living may not necessarily translate to a higher sense of well-being as there are other influences involved such as cultural or psychological ones,” said Georgette Tan, group head, Communications, Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa, MasterCard.

Women in developed Asia Pacific ranked marginally higher in only one component of the survey – ‘safety from threats’ – with a score of 57.0 compared to 55.2 for emerging markets.

Women in emerging markets score higher across all other components compared with their counterparts in more developed economies, with the greatest difference seen in the ‘satisfaction’ component (69.9 vs. 59.0) and ‘personal well-being’ (67.4 vs. 55.0).

Women in emerging markets are also clearly more optimistic about their work and finances including their outlook on regular income and employment. In comparison, women from developed markets appear to be in greater control when it comes to keeping up with their bills or saving for big purchases, possibly due to the better margins afforded by their higher incomes.

“What differentiates this research from other studies is the holistic view we’ve taken in understanding the factors that impact the level of well-being amongst women. As we look to enhance the role of women in society, our research provides a complementary view to economic data, ultimately helping us better gauge the progress that still needs to be made in this space,” Tan added.

MasterCard Index of Women’s Advancement

Alongside the results of the Well-Being Index, MasterCard also announced the results of the latest Index of Women’s Advancement, which measures the socioeconomic standing of women across Asia/Pacific via three main indicators: Employment (Workforce Participation, Regular Employment), Education (Secondary Education, Tertiary Education) and Leadership (Business Owners, Business Leaders, Political leaders). Each indicator measures the ratio of women to every 100 men in each of the 14[3] Asia/Pacific markets covered by the research.

Overall, amongst the 14 Asia/Pacific markets, New Zealand ranked first (77.9 Index Score), followed by Australia (76.0), the Philippines (72.9), Singapore (68.4) and Taiwan (65.9). At the other end of spectrum, India (39.2), Japan (48.3) and Korea (50.0) had Index scores indicating that much more can be done to achieve gender parity. The full rankings for the MasterCard Index of Women’s Advancement can be found below.

MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement
Market Score
New Zealand 77.9
Australia 76
Philippines 72.9
Singapore 68.4
Taiwan 65.9
Vietnam 65.7
Hong Kong 63.7
China 61.9
Thailand 64.6
Indonesia 56.6
Malaysia 54.5
Korea 50
Japan 48.3
India 39.2

MasterCard Index of Well-Being

The MasterCard Index of Well-Being is a new survey comprising 16 Asia/Pacific markets. Launched in January 2014, the Index aims to provide an in-depth measure of the level of well-being among nations in Asia/Pacific by examining the impact of wide-ranging factors such as work-life balance, cyber-crime and disease outbreak on respondents. Overall, the research reflects respondents’ attitudes towards five categories ranging from Work and Finances, Safety from Threats, Personal and Work Satisfaction, Personal Well-being and Sense of Empowerment.

Data collection was via internet surveys and face to face interviews, with the questionnaire translated to the local language wherever appropriate and necessary. The Index and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.