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Boosting women’s workforce participation in South and South-West Asia


  • Matthew Hammill

    () (Subregional Office for South and South-West Asia, ESCAP)

  • Vatcharin Sirimaneetham

    () (Macroeconomic Policy and Financing for Development Division, ESCAP)


The ten countries of South and South-West Asia perform poorly in ensuring economic opportunities for women. Based on an index of women’s economic participation, which captures female labour force participation, gender wage equality and the presence of female professional workers in 145 economies, Bhutan, the best-performing country in the subregion, is ranked at ninetieth. India, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan are ranked among the bottom six countries in the index. The median female labour force participation rate in South and South-West Asia, at 35.5% in 2013, is lower than that of all other regions of the world except the Middle East and North Africa. South and South-West Asia is also the only region in the world where female labour force participation decreased between 2000 and 2013.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew Hammill & Vatcharin Sirimaneetham, 2016. "Boosting women’s workforce participation in South and South-West Asia," MPDD Policy Briefs PB36, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
  • Handle: RePEc:unt:pbmpdd:pb36

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