Inequality

Bangladesh poverty 

The Cry for Inclusive Economic Growth in Bangladesh

November 16, 2016

Blog

2016 will be remembered as a tumultuous year for Bangladesh, rocked by major security incidents involving deadly terrorist attacks that negatively affected the country’s image, both at home and abroad. Despite this, Bangladesh still proved its resilience to such shocking events and continued on with its economic growth trajectory, recording an impr… Read more

downtown kabul 

Overcoming Stigma Against Disabilities in Afghanistan

November 2, 2016

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The dusty, narrow streets of Kabul are congested most days, packed with vehicles and bicyclists angling for space. Panhandlers take advantage of the frequent standstills—constantly moving from car to car, tapping on windows and asking for change. These panhandlers are homeless for a variety of complex reasons and include men, women, and children of… Read more

Youth Civic Engagement in Bangladesh 

Six Pressing Issues in Asia and How We’re Adapting Our Approach to Address Them

September 6, 2016

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Today, 60 percent of the world’s population lives in Asia – with 40 percent concentrated in China and India alone – and the region will continue to host the majority of the world’s population through 2050. Over the past two decades, economic growth has helped lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, and 56 percent of developing Asia’s po… Read more

A S’gaw Karen student runs his classmates through a pronunciation drill. Photo/Lukas Winfield 

To Realize SDGs, Thailand’s Minority Communities Need More Mother Tongue Books

September 6, 2016

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Northern Thailand, a region famous for its natural beauty, hill tribe communities, and trekking routes through lush jungle terrain, is home to a diversity of languages and cultures comprising approximately 59 unique ethnolinguistic groups. Standard Thai is currently the country’s only official language and the primary language of instruction in pub… Read more

Ruby Hembrom (left) at the World Delhi Book Fair. 

Giving a Voice to India’s Indigenous (Adivasi) Community

September 6, 2016

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Ruby Hembrom (left) at the World Delhi Book Fair. Five years ago, Ruby Hembrom gave up a high-paying career in the IT sector to start her own publishing company to preserve the culture and historical heritage of India’s indigenous (Adivasi) community. Hembrom, who spent the first four years of her life in rural Jharkhand learning Santali as her nat… Read more

Lombok 

Indonesia’s Village Law: A Step Toward Inclusive Governance

February 17, 2016

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In late December, Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo spoke to over 700 village heads in Boyolali, Central Java, about the implementation of the year-old Village Law – a major campaign platform for both he and his rival during the 2014 presidential election.

SIGAB-voter-information 

Leading Disability Advocate Examines Draft Disability Law in Indonesia

December 2, 2015

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Like many countries, Indonesia is accelerating efforts to implement its commitment as a 2011 signatory to the International Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD), particularly as the newly minted 2030 Sustainable Development Goals…

HajiSulongcommemorationSized2 

Commemorating Malay-Muslim Icon Haji Sulong: Inspiring Hope for Lasting Peace in Southern Thailand

October 14, 2015

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On the evening of Aug. 14, 2015, the family of the late Haji Sulong – the revered voice of Malay-Muslim cultural identity and nationalism – convened a public event to commemorate the 61st anniversary of his unsolved disappearance. Haji Sulong’s efforts to secure the rights, recognize the unique cultural identity…

Conor Ashleigh Nepal 2013 

The Stubborn Persistence of Gender Inequality

April 1, 2015

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Despite the swelling mantra of women’s empowerment, and the proliferation of gender-sensitive approaches in aid program descriptions, the snail-like advancement of women in developing countries continues to indict our best efforts. Microfinance programs, reserved seats for women in parliament, and a raft of…

IWDTimorLeste 

Post-2015 Development Agenda Needs Standalone Goal on Gender Equality

March 4, 2015

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It has been more than a century since the world first celebrated March 8 as International Women’s Day. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women when representatives from 189 governments signed the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action…

KathyStephens1 

India Under Prime Minister Modi: A Conversation with Ambassador Kathleen Stephens

February 25, 2015

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In Asia editor Alma Freeman sat down with Asia Foundation trustee Ambassador Kathleen Stephens, who visited Asia Foundation headquarters in San Francisco having just concluded a 7-month post as chargé d’affaires at the U.S Embassy in New Delhi.

ThailandUrbanSlum 

Trends That Will Shape Asia’s Economic Future (Part 2)

February 11, 2015

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In last week’s blog, I highlighted four top trends to look out for in Asia’s economic future, including: Asia as the driver of growth, the growing tide of inequality and disparity, Asia’s trendsetters, and regional integration and regional fragmentation. Here are four more top trends to watch…

Gurgaonworker 

Trends That Will Shape Asia’s Economic Future (Part 1)

February 4, 2015

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Last month, the International Labour Organization (ILO) announced troubling global trends in unemployment, which is expected to worsen in the coming years. According to its 2015 Employment and Social Outlook report, young workers aged 15-24 are particularly hard hit by the crisis, and Asia is home to the largest number of these young people.

Jakarta 

As Driver of World Economic Growth, Asia’s Vulnerabilities Emerge

January 7, 2015

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2014 will be remembered as the year when China became the world’s biggest economy in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms, overtaking the United States for the first time in history. This move, which did not come as a surprise, is the sign of a superpower transition…

2014BESTOF 

Editor’s Picks: 2014 Must Reads

December 23, 2014

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Season’s Greetings! On behalf of In Asia’s editorial board and bloggers, we thank you for your engagement and continued readership throughout the year. We’ll be taking a short break, but will return on January 7. In the meantime, catch up on our must-read pieces and highlights on the most pressing events and issues in Asia throughout 2014.

Biggest-Problems_infographic 

Does the Ghani Administration Mean a Greater Role for Women in the Afghan Economy?

November 19, 2014

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At his inauguration on September 29, President Ashraf Ghani thanked his wife, Rula, for her support during the campaign, and to the surprise of many in Afghanistan, promised Afghans that she would continue her work advocating on behalf of the nation’s 750,000 internally displaced people. Having previously served as the country’s finance minister in 2002-2004…

MongoliaMiningSite 

Human Rights and Mongolia’s Small-Scale Mining Sector

October 29, 2014

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Since the collapse of the socialist regime in 1990, Mongolia’s economic development has been dependent on an expanding formal and informal mining sector that for many years had little regard for the environment.

KhalidMalik 

A Conversation with UN Human Development Report Author Khalid Malik

October 8, 2014

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Khalid Malik, lead author of the UNDP Human Development Report, sat down with The Asia Foundation’s Global Communications assistant director, Eelynn Sim, on a recent visit to the Foundation’s headquarters in San Francisco and on the heels of the release of the 2014 report.

NepalLand 

Emerging Trends in Property Rights for Vulnerable Populations in Asia

September 10, 2014

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Although they don’t often make international headlines, land disputes and conflict over property rights regularly make national coverage across Asia. On August 30, over 1,000 farmers assembled in Myanmar to protest ongoing land grabs. Last month in Sri Lanka, a public outcry over forced evictions in urban…

DonaldSteinberg 

A Conversation with World Learning CEO, Development Expert, & Trustee Donald Steinberg

September 10, 2014

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In Asia editor Alma Freeman sat down last month with The Asia Foundation’s new trustee, Donald Steinberg, president and CEO of World Learning, and former deputy administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development, White House Deputy Press Secretary, and U.S. ambassador to Angola.

BuddhistMonkSoldier 

What Do Increasing Attacks Against Soft Targets in Thailand’s South Signal?

August 6, 2014

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Following the first-round meeting in February 2013 between the Thai Government and the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) rebel group that marked the start of surprise peace talks, insurgents have primarily targeted hard targets such as military and police personnel. However, following the breakdown of talks in July 2013…

BangladeshBusRiders 

Bangladesh’s Development Surprise: A Model for Developing Countries

June 25, 2014

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By many metrics, Bangladesh’s development trajectory is a unique success story, especially since the 1990s when democratic rule was reinstated and extensive economic reforms were made. Poverty incidence has fallen from 60 percent to around 30 percent.

MyanmarDevelopment 

Reexamining Growth and Poverty in Myanmar

June 25, 2014

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International data indicate that Myanmar’s current growth rate is about 7 percent, which by any measure should indicate progress and pride. Macroeconomic reforms have been extensive. The unrealistic legal exchange rate, which at one point was about 150 times…

Asia-Foundation-60th-anniversary-series 

Poverty, Inequality, and the Negative Effects of Mongolia’s Economic Downturn

June 25, 2014

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For the last four years, Mongolia has had one of the fastest growing economies in the world, clocking double-digit growth on the back of a mining boom. The effects of this growth are obvious, especially in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, where cranes dominate the skyline…

Asia-Foundation-60th-anniversary-series 

Fellow Marcia Czarina Corazon Medina-Guce on Reform in the Philippines

June 25, 2014

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In Asia editor Alma Freeman recently interviewed Philippine local governance leader Marcia Czarina Corazon Medina-Guce on President Aquino’s ambitious reform agenda and progress on poverty reduction and inclusive development.

PovertyInequalityblog2 

Photo Blog: Critical Issue – Poverty and Inequality

June 25, 2014

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Despite the region’s dramatic growth, income inequality across much of Asia is rising, and poverty remains a stubborn issue to overcome. Some 700 million people across the region live on less than $1 a day. In response, governments are taking on urgent policy reforms needed to create jobs and foster inclusive growth…

IndianStudent 

Betting on Women in the Fight Against Poverty

June 18, 2014

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Today about six out of 10 of the world’s poorest people are women. That means, of the estimated 1.5 billion people living in extreme poverty worldwide, 60-70 percent are girls and women. However, if girls and women account for a large percentage of the poor…

NaniZulmnarni 

Giving Indonesia’s Women Head of Households A Fighting Chance

June 18, 2014

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The Indonesian Bureau of Statistics estimates that out of 65 million households, approximately 9 million – or nearly 14 percent – are headed by women. Studies from field reviews of World Bank-financed national community development projects have shown that vulnerable widows were not joining collective decision-making…

MongoliaSPEAKgraph 

In Mongolia, Perception of Corruption as Most Critical Problem Drops

June 18, 2014

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Last week, The Asia Foundation, the Sant Maral Foundation, and Mercy Corps Mongolia released the fourth semi-annual corruption survey, revealing citizens’ perception of corruption in one of the fastest growing economies in the world. As in the three earlier surveys…

Judge-Najla-Ayubi1-1 

Najla Ayubi on Elections and Women in Afghanistan

June 11, 2014

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If Afghanistan is synonymous with a rugged terrain and warring tribes, the “graveyard of empires,” then it should also be synonymous with courage and defiance. Afghan women collectively deserve not only the Nobel Prize for peace, but also a prize for courage and valor, especially crafted for them.

 

Integrating Disability in Pakistan’s Development Approach

June 11, 2014

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Last month, over 1,000 students, journalists, civil society representatives, and activists walked from the Roshan Khan Complex to Jinnah Stadium in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, to raise awareness of exclusion of persons with disabilities in education. At the walk, UNESCO’s director…

New Delhi Train Station is busy during the morning's peak hour. 

Envisioning a More Integrated South Asia

May 21, 2014

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On May 15, as buzz from India’s historic election reached a high the day before results were announced, The Asia Foundation, in partnership with the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) in Delhi, launched the SARCist, a comprehensive online resource center dedicated to the issues facing South Asia regional cooperation.

BangladeshWomen 

ICT Innovations Connect Bangladesh’s Women Entrepreneurs

May 14, 2014

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By 2020, Bangladesh will have a population of 170 million – and half of this population will be made up of women. If the country is to achieve the 8 percent GDP growth it hopes for, making sure that women entrepreneurs are able to reach their full potential and fully contribute…

 

Advancing Women Business Leadership in Mongolia

May 14, 2014

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While Mongolia has made important strides in achieving gender equality, it still has a long way to go when it comes to parity between women and men in business. Currently, it ranks 33rd out of 136 countries according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index (2013)…

StephenGroff 

ADB’s Stephen P. Groff Examines Rise of Inequality in Middle Income Asia

May 7, 2014

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On the heels of the launch of the Asian Development Bank’s latest Asian Development Outlook 2014 report, ADB Vice President Stephen P. Groff visited Asia Foundation headquarters in San Francisco last week to discuss key findings and how the ADB is realigning its operations to emphasize inclusiveness…

Indonesia4 

Photo Blog: Legal Aid Delivers Justice in Indonesia

May 7, 2014

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Millions of poor and marginalized Indonesians live without the full protection of the law. Securing access to justice for these citizens is a vital component of reducing poverty and vulnerability and delivering democratic governance.

IndonesiaElections2 

Prejudice at the Polling Booth: Disabled Indonesians Face Barriers in Voting

April 9, 2014

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Millions of Indonesians voted in legislative elections on Wednesday, their ink-stained fingers marking another important moment in the consolidation of Indonesian democracy. Sixteen years after the fall of the Suharto regime, elections are largely considered free and fair…

ManilaStreetScene 

How Politics Can Outmaneuver Reform in the Philippines

March 12, 2014

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Over the past two years, the Philippines has achieved the distinction of being the fastest growing of the ASEAN-6 economies with growth rates of 6.8 percent in 2012 and 7.2 percent in 2013. The official poverty rate in the Philippines was 27.9 percent in 2012 and 28.8 percent in 2006; levels which were interpreted this way…

AsianPerspectivesMarch12 

Asia Foundation’s 18 Country Reps Convene in D.C. to Discuss Asia’s Critical Issues

March 12, 2014

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This year, The Asia Foundation is commemorating its 60th anniversary. Drawing on the expertise of local partners and our own development experts in the 18 countries where we work, we’re initiating a year-long, global conversation on six critical issues facing Asia.

ThailandVillageRenaming 

Village Renaming Heals Deep Wounds in Southern Thailand

February 19, 2014

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On the morning of Feb. 9, 2014, the seafront village of Mengabang in Saiburi district in southern Thailand was bathed in sun and abuzz with activity. Boys and girls in colorful local costumes and festive dress, beaming groups of middle-aged women, and village elders crowded along the main seafront road as they got into formation for a parade.

ThailandProtests 

Observing Thailand’s Tense Elections

February 5, 2014

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Despite months of protests by anti-government demonstrators, and an election boycott by the main opposition party, the Democrat Party, Thailand held a national election on Sunday. The protesters, known as the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), were demanding that the current government led…

A construction site in Kathmandu. Nepal's capital has  experienc 

The Critical Issues Affecting Asia

January 22, 2014

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More than half of the planet lives in Asia. Six of the 10 largest nations in the world are in the Asia Pacific, and the region is playing an increasingly important role in the global economy, international security, and the world’s collective efforts to advance human development. The dynamism of Asian economies contributed greatly to the global economic recovery, simultaneously lifting more than half a billion people out of poverty. Glittering cities and bustling ports bear testament to the so-called “Asian miracle” that has become the dominant narrative in economic and political analysis of recent years.

BangkokShutdown1 

Credible Reform, Not Shutdown, Needed to End Thailand’s Political Standoff

January 15, 2014

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For more than two months, tens of thousands of anti-government protesters have gathered at Democracy Monument and other major intersections throughout Bangkok. Initially, the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), led by former long-time Democrat politician, Suthep Thaugsuban…

ThailandSubway 

Can Political Dynamics Cause Thailand and Malaysia to Fall into the Middle-Income Trap?

January 15, 2014

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Despite the troubling political unrest and protests that continue to unfold across Asia in 2014, the New Year actually looks good for the region’s economies. Asia continues as one of the world’s fastest growing regions, projected to experience 5.25 percent growth in 2014…

Laborers on their work site in Gurgaon. Gurgaon is a rapidly gro 

Are Asian Economies Prepared for Higher Growth in 2014?

January 8, 2014

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As all eyes turn to Brazil for the World Cup this summer, and to India and Indonesia for two of the world’s largest democratic elections, 2014 may as well be called the “Year of the Middle-Income Country.” Last year saw several economies make steady gains, including powerhouse China…