Aim of the Report

The goal of this report is to identify the critical gaps in the realm of Women Social Entrepreneurship, as well as promote what enables Women Social Entrepreneurs (WSEs). We have focused on the following questions:  

  • How are WSEs in Southeast Asia innovating to generate social and economic value for their communities? 

  • What are the key enablers that will support WSEs to scale their impact and serve as catalysts for system change? 

Two women in striped skirts- both are smiling, and one is leaning on the other.

This report is the outcome of...

  • 150 quantitative surveys, including 40 men and 110 WSEs from ASEAN 

  • 30 in-depth interviews with Ashoka Fellows from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand 

We analyzed the quantitative and qualitative data we gathered to arrive at the key insights presented in this report; here, we highlight uniquely female approaches (e.g. working towards inclusive communities and international replication of their work), common barriers (e.g. struggling to change policies and conditioned gender norms), recommendations on potential solutions and systemic change (e.g. improving funding, partnerships, and planning), as well as inspiring stories from WSEs in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.  


  • Part One: Landscape of Women Social Entrepreneurship in ASEAN 

  • Part Two: Men and Women Social Entrepreneurs Are Not That Different 

  • Part Three: Unique Challenges and Approaches in Women Social Entrepreneurship 

  • Part Four: Reflections for the Future: Enablers for Both Men and Women Social Entrepreneurs, and Gender-Specific Support for Women Social Entrepreneurs 

Recommended Highlights for Key Stakeholders

  • Social Entrepreneurs: Parts Two and Three include first-hand experiences of established WSEs and how they have successfully overcome challenges. These stories can be insightful for all genders, as well as both aspiring and established social entrepreneurs. 

  • Investors and Funders: Parts Two and Three showcase the powerful work WSEs have been doing in this region, highlighting why it is important to invest in them. Part Four details the support that both men and Women Social Entrepreneurs need, such as how funding can help them. 

  • Government: Part Three highlights WSEs’ struggles to hold conversations with policymakers, and Part Four lists what can be done to solve these issues.  

  • Partners and Stakeholders: Part Four lists various ways that partners can work with social entrepreneurs to foster a mutually beneficial relationship. 

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If you are interested in receiving updates on Advancing Women Social Entrepreneurs in ASEAN, including invitations to participate in events and roundtables, please email [email protected]