How Confident Are Women Nowadays? Women’s Confidence Survey in Asia Reveals: Almost 50% of Women Lack Confidence

Monday March 7th, 2022

As International Women’s Day is approaching, Watsons released results from a regional ‘Women’s Confidence Survey in Asia’. Four major findings are: 1) Almost 50% of women feel unconfident with lowest confidence level in Hong Kong; 2) Almost 50% do not feel satisfied with their career progression; 3) Most women find it difficult to take care of both work and family, over 70% think it’s a challenge to balance the two roles; 4) Mentoring support and seminars on stress management & career success are the top support women need.

According to Malina Ngai, CEO of AS Watson (Asia & Europe), “Watsons has had a deep connection with women for over 180 years. We believe that the best version of you and your real beauty should radiate from within. Confidence is an important part of inner beauty and is what makes you feel good and positively impacts your mental well-being.

“That’s why Watsons has recently appointed WISE to conduct a survey about women’s confidence in Asia to find out what kind of support women need to feel more confident and help them become a better version of themselves.”

‘Women’s Confidence Survey in Asia’ has been conducted with over 3,100 women aged 20-29 across six markets including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. The respondents were asked to rate their confidence levels and what are the things that can help to boost their confidence.

The findings show that almost half of all women in Asia are not confident about themselves at work and in life. Women’s confidence levels are lowest in Hong Kong, closely followed by Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia and Mainland China. The survey further reveals that staying healthy inside out, as well as gaining recognition from coworkers are key to helping women gain confidence. In Hong Kong, 52% of women believe that they will be more confident if given more opportunities to unleash their potential.

Equitable, Supportive and Family-friendly Workplace is Much Needed
When it comes to the workplace, the results show that almost half of the women do not feel satisfied with their career progression, with satisfaction levels being at the lowest in Hong Kong amongst all markets.

Almost half of the respondents feel stressed in an unbalanced gender workplace and think that gender equality is important in the workplace to make women feel good and comfortable. Over 30% do not have enough support from their companies. The top support that they are looking for are mentoring support, seminars on stress management & career success, and networking events.

Added to this, social changes in Asian markets mean that more women are well-educated but aren’t getting the right support to further their careers. 70% of the respondents are university graduates and 95% believe they are able to excel in their career, yet most women find it difficult to excel at work while taking care of a family and 76% of them think it’s a challenge to balance the two roles.

Ngai continues, “The findings show that an equitable, supportive and family friendly workplace is exactly what women need nowadays and we are keen to lead by example. With operations in 11 markets in Asia, women make up 77% of our 63,000 workforce. Therefore, it is Watsons’ ongoing commitment to create a culture that makes everyone feel welcomed, valued, appreciated and encouraged to bring their whole selves to work, and each of them is given equal career development opportunity.

“As a family-friendly company, we encourage more companies to join us in formulating policies to support and empower women, especially helping those working mothers to strike a balance between work and family.”

What is Beautiful? Inner Beauty Becomes Increasingly Important
As a trusted brand for women, Watsons has always taken pride in having a deep understanding of women’s preferences. Especially after two challenging years with COVID-19 pandemic impacting everyone’s life, we are keen to understand how women’s perception of beauty evolves amongst our over 100 million loyal customers.

In another recent survey Watsons commissioned titled ‘What is Beautiful’, more than 11,000 women aged under 45 in 12 markets across Asia and Europe were interviewed about how they value things around them and how they define beautiful after going through a pandemic. On average, 75% of women agree that inner beauty has become more important than ever, especially in the Philippines (96%), followed by Malaysia (91%), Thailand (86%), Hong Kong (83%) and Taiwan (82%).

When being asked about the definition of ‘beautiful’, taking care of your health inside out tops the list, with feeling confident and feeling happy in the second and third.

“These findings are consistent with those in our ‘Women’s Confidence Survey in Asia’ that reveals staying healthy inside out is important to boost confidence which is important for both physical and mental wellness,” Ngai adds.

‘The New Beautiful’ Campaign Promotes Inner Beauty in Women
What’s the most beautiful thing in life?’ The survey continues. Almost half the respondents feel that the most beautiful thing in life is doing good to the people around them, communities and even the planet we live in.

Ngai believes as our customers gradually emerge from the pandemic crisis, it’s time to empower each other. “The survey results redefine what beautiful means in people’s mind. Doing good is a way to make people feel good, beautiful and confident. To boost a woman’s self-confidence, it’s no longer just about outer beauty; instead, it’s about helping women to glow from the inside out.

“As such, Watsons is launching ‘The New Beautiful’ campaign to encourage women to empower themselves to Look Good. Do Good. Feel Great. Featuring a series of activities across Asia, it will have three overarching themes – Go Green, Go Smile, and Go Empower, which aims to actively involve our community of over 100 million loyalty members in Asia.”

Programmes will begin to roll out across numerous Asian markets soon. In Hong Kong, ‘Go Empower’ online seminar will be hosted to inspire women’s confidence in building personal branding. Registration will start on 8 March to coincide with International Women’s Day.

In Indonesia, a ‘Girls Support Girls’ sharing session will be held across universities, while in the Philippines, Watsons has partnered with Operation Smile to launch a ‘Women in Medicine’ programme to empower women in the field of medical science. All volunteers participated in the medical mission are women, helping cleft children to restore their smile. And in other markets including Mainland China, Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan, health talks and women empowerment sharing sessions will run across social media platforms and instore to surprise female customers.

“At Watsons, we believe in The New Beautiful, a new kind of beauty that’s good for everyone. To us, beautiful glows from the inside. It’s how we treat ourselves and each other. It’s how we live, who we are, and who we can be. The beautiful is in us all, and for us all.” Ngai concludes.