In the dynamic landscape of the Asia, home to over 4.6 billion people, where rapid economic growth coexists with pressing social challenges, the specter of inequality looms large.

Download the Report – Faces of Inequality in Asia 2023 – here.

The countries with their urban centers and rural pockets are marked by significant divide in opportunities and access to essential services. This report, Faces of Inequality in Asia-2023, delves into the multifaceted nature of inequality, exploring its various dimensions such as income disparity, gender inequality, regional divides, educational imbalances and challenges to access healthcare facility and social security schemes.

High-income inequality, a prevailing issue across most of the countries, is a harbinger of diverse negative impacts. From hampering child development to limiting the status of women, the ramifications are far-reaching impacting individuals across social, economic and geographic spectra.

The existing social security systems, while acknowledged as effective tools in reducing inequality, are not uniformly structured across the countries. Many countries still grapple with bifurcated systems, leaving a substantial portion of the population excluded from the benefits of social security.

Moreover, the lack of universal healthcare compounds the issue, with a significant portion of the population lacking access to essential medical services. This not only perpetuates a cycle of poverty and ill-health but also exposes the region to heightened vulnerabilities during health crises.

As we journey through the case studies presented in Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Pakistan, and the Philippines, we uncover the harsh realities faced by those on the margins.

We will encounter disparities in income, access to education, healthcare, and opportunities that mirror the challenges faced by communities and individuals.

Each story reflects a unique facet of the broader struggle against social disparities, revealing the human cost of systemic failures and the urgent need for inclusive policies.

A Unified Call for Inclusive Policies & Urgent Reforms to Redefine Equity

It is high time the policymakers, governments, and civil society collaborated in designing and implementing effective solutions to address the issues of inequality. The voices of those on the margins must guide the formulation of policies, ensuring that social security, healthcare, and essential services become not just aspirations but tangible realities for every individual, irrespective of their socio[1]economic background. It’s time for the governments in Asia to start formulating policies on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Universal Social Protection Floors (USPF). Only through concerted efforts and commitment can we build a future where dignity, justice, and equal opportunities are the birthright of every citizen.

Key Takeaways

Urgent Systemic Reforms: There is a need for urgent and systemic reforms in social security frameworks, healthcare systems and bureaucratic processes to address the pressing challenges faced by marginalized communities.

Tailored Interventions: Tailored interventions that address the unique needs of diverse communities, considering factors like gender, socio-economic status, and cultural nuances is the need of the hour.

Inclusive Policy Formulation: Policymakers need to incorporate the voices of those on the margins in the formulation of policies, ensuring that the solutions are not one-size-fits-all but cater to the specific challenges faced by different communities.

Collaboration for Change: Collaboration between governments, civil society and international organizations to effect meaningful and sustainable change in the lives of those facing adversity is essential.

Continuous Evaluation:  As nations implement reforms such as the Universal Health Care Act in the Philippines, continuous evaluation and adaptation are crucial to ensure the effectiveness of policies and the realization of the fundamental right to healthcare for every citizen.