Released Wednesday, the report, which offers a comprehensive global review of women’s rights around the world, said that the level of domestic violence is very high in the Asia-Pacific region.
Saying that the private sphere must not be “outside justice”, the report added that a large number of women in the region feel it’s alright for a man to beat his wife.
“According to surveys in seven countries in the region, on average, a third of respondents say that it is sometimes acceptable for a man to beat his wife, including over half of respondents in Malaysia and nearly two-thirds in Thailand,” the report said.
Titled ‘Progress of the World’s Women’, the report says that the issue of women’s rights in the present day world is a paradox. “The past century has seen a transformation in women’s legal rights, with countries in every region expanding the scope of women’s legal entitlements”.
“Nevertheless, for most of the world’s women, the laws that exist on paper do not translate to equality and justice,” it said.
In the Asia-Pacific context, the report said that there are 19 countries and territories in the region that have passed laws to prohibit domestic violence.
“However, only eight countries and territories throughout Asia-Pacific region explicitly criminalise marital rape, leaving millions of women exposed to abuse at the hands of their partners,” it said.
Even as India continues to seek 33 percent reservation for women in parliament and state legislatures, Nepal is the only country in the region which has reached the 30 percent critical mass mark for women in parliament.
“Women parliamentarians have played a key role in passing new laws on domestic violence and improving poor women’s access to reproductive health care,” the report said.
Women are also under-represented in the justice system, the report said.
In South Asia, women make up just nine percent of judges and four percent prosecution staff. Also, women are just three percent of police in South Asia and nine percent in East Asia and the Pacific, the report said.