Asia has made some laudable progress toward gender equality, particularly in terms of education and employment opportunities. But the region still has a ways to go before it catches up with the U.S. and Europe, according to the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report, which looks at economic, educational, health and political indicators. The Philippines has made the biggest strides in addressing gender inequality in Asia, taking seventh place in the global rankings.
Numerous political parties in Europe have adopted quotas to ensure that a certain number of their candidates are women, and the move seems to be paying off. In Iceland, for example, women account for 41% of members of the parliament. The Philippines has introduced a similar system, and now nearly 30% of its lawmakers are women. Singapore, ranked 54th, and Thailand, ranked 60th, have been doing well in economic indicators, but female cabinet members and lawmakers remain well in the minority. Japan, where about 10% of Diet members are women, did not even make it into the ranking's top 100.