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Survey Report

Asia Pacific: Global Gender Wealth Equity Index

Regional findings from the 2022 Global Gender Wealth Equity Report

November 29, 2022

Women in Asia Pacific accumulate less wealth than men at the end of their careers, with varying inequities by country. The gender wealth gap is shaped by many contributing factors in this diverse region.
Compensation Strategy & Design|Inclusion-and-Diversity|Retirement
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Wealth accumulation inequities exist in Asia Pacific, with women expected to accumulate less wealth at the end of their working careers than men. This is known as the gender wealth gap.

The average Wealth Equity Index across Asia Pacific is 0.76. Given the diversity of cultures, support structures and wealth amongst markets in this region, it is unsurprising to see large variations in the gap. The indices range from 0.90 for South Korea, which was the highest globally, to India at 0.64.

Our findings are grouped into the following categories:

  • Family support: including childcare and eldercare
  • Career: pay and career progression
  • Life events: divorce and widowhood
  • Financial: savings vehicles, and differences in financial literacy and risk tolerance.

Family support

An enduring theme across Asia is that women spend more time in family support roles – that is unpaid care roles – relative to men. This is attributable to a cultural bias in many Asian countries, which places the primary ownership of childcare and meeting basic eldercare needs, on working-age women.

Women also face various barriers to career progression, which reinforces their role as primary caretakers at home:

  • Women tend to be afforded less opportunities for promotion and raises. Therefore, from a financial perspective, it makes sense for the lower paid party, in this case the woman, to assume the unpaid household duties.
  • Maternity leave in many markets is significantly greater than paternity leave, which by extension leads to women assuming the childcare role.

Another factor influencing the prevalence of women adopting unpaid roles is the availability of childcare. In markets such as Australia and Japan, there can be a scarcity of childcare availability and substantial waiting lists.

In some countries within the region, the predilection for women to assume caregiving responsibilities is tempered by the availability of nannies or helpers, such as in Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines and sometimes Thailand, although this is unlikely to be an option for women in less senior roles.


The impact of family support is ingrained in women’s career, pay and promotional opportunities. This often leads to fewer working hours, and slower cumulative development of knowledge and skills when compared to men with less significant workforce interruption. Women returning to the workforce may achieve slower incremental salary increases and delayed promotion compared to their male counterparts. In some markets such as Japan, overtime pay is prevalent but many women can’t access it due to their caregiving responsibilities.

Pay gaps also persist, although in recent years there has been an effort to narrow this. These changes have been underpinned by legislative developments in some countries, for example Australia’s Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 and the annual gender pay gap disclosure requirement for large employers in Japan introduced in July 20221. Similarly, in recent times there has been some focus in the region on supporting provisions for women to assume leadership positions. While some have been enshrined into law, others remain aspirational. For example, in Japan there is a disclosure requirement for the number of women included on boards2 and in Singapore, the government is taking an active role to promote the return of women into the workforce after having a child3.

Despite initiatives across the region, WTW data shows there are only two countries where the distribution of women in senior expert and leadership roles equals or exceeds 10% – Hong Kong and Singapore. In stark contrast, only 2% of women in Taiwan are in senior expert and leadership roles. Somewhat counterintuitively, as the average pay gap over a women’s working career relative to men increases with seniority, this serves to improve Taiwan’s Wealth Equity Index relative to peers in the region.

Life events

Women are often subject to life events beyond their control. For instance, the impact of divorce on women’s accumulated wealth varies throughout the region. In some Asian countries, distribution of assets on divorce is relatively equitable and straightforward. In Japan, women typically receive half of the couples’ accumulated wealth. In Singapore, women are protected under section 112(10) of the Women's Charter4 for fair division of matrimonial assets in the event of divorce. However, women of the Muslim faith are subject to Sharia law on divorce-related matters, which may impact asset division. In other countries such as Hong Kong, asset distribution can be complicated due to significant inherited family wealth.

Generally, our modeling illustrated that divorce and widowhood had a lower impact on women’s overall accumulated wealth at retirement in Asia Pacific, when compared to the other factors, for all countries in the region.


Financial literacy is a significant determinant of wealth at retirement, as this influences investment decisions and resultant capital accumulation. In India, financial decisions generally rest with men and financial literacy for working women tends to be lower. Similarly, the financial literacy of women remains a challenge in Indonesia.5 Conversely, women’s financial literacy is much higher in Japan. Women in China and the Philippines exhibit similar financial literacy to their male counterparts.

It follows that our Global Gender Wealth Equity Report reveals that women in India and Indonesia tend to accumulate significantly less wealth than their male counterparts. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea had the smallest gaps in wealth accumulation.

For all countries in the region, women accumulate less wealth than men. Contributing factors, aside from differences in financial literacy and their resultant impact on investment returns, include differences in pay and structural aspects of the retirement systems.

To instantly access all the findings and regional analysis from the 2022 Global Gender Wealth Equity Report, please complete the form on the right.


1 Amendments to the Act on Promotion of Women's Participation and Advancement in the Workplace (APWPAW) came into force with their publication on July 8, 2022

2 Act for Promotion of Women's Participation and Advancement in the Workplace (Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare) – Japan

3 Workforce Singapore (WSG)

4 Workforce Singapore (WSG): Women’s Charter 1961

5 GFELC: The Gender Gap in Financial Literacy: A Global Perspective Report

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