Some 60 percent of women in the APEC member-economies do not have savings accounts, according to The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Women and The Economy Dashboard 2015 report.
The report noted that despite APEC’s initiatives to improve women’s financial literacy and access to capital, women’s use of financial services remains low.
“Another example of low use of financial services by women is reflected in the proportion of women aged 15 and older with savings at a financial institution, which was equal to 38.5 percent in 2014. In other words, more than 60 percent of adult women in APEC did not possess savings accounts,” the Dashboard said.
“This occurs despite the fact that around 59 percent of the female population aged 15 or older was economically active between 2008 and 2013, and the ratio of female to male labor force participation remained steady around 77 percent,” it added.
During the APEC Women and the Economy (WE) Fora, the organization measured women’s participation in regional economy through the Dashboard in terms of access to capital and assets; access to markets; skills, capacity-building, and health; leadership, voice, and agency; and innovation and technology.
“The Dashboard, at the onset, told us that there are clear efforts within the region to improve the conditions women are facing to facilitate their participation in the economy, and there are several areas toward this end that need more work,” said APEC Policy Support Unit Senior Analyst Carlos Kuriyama.
The Dashboard revealed that there was still low participation of women in leadership positions, both in public and private sectors, as well as limited laws protecting women in entering the labor market.
On the other hand, it noted APEC’s progress on women’s accessibility to training and educational programs and reducing maternal mortality rates and increasing live births.
However, data on women’s participation in innovation and technology are still limited.
“Capacity-building activities with statistical government agencies in issues related to data collection could be a first step to improve data availability in the future. This could also be useful for these agencies to cover the gap left by some indicators that seem to have been discontinued,” the Dashboard noted.