Likewise animal rights, and environmental concerns were completely absent in Buddhist countries until very recently, when one would have assumed that such things would be widespread.
Such concerns are largely restricted to highly industrialized wealthy countries where people have the luxury to worry about stray dogs and pollution. Environmental concerns only become serious when a country has a sizeable middle-class to demand clear air and water. Until such time most people just scramble to get by and would sacrifice their health and the environment to earn a comfortable living.
Animal rights is likewise limited to prosperous and wealthy societies. Buddhist countries nowadays tend to be poor and hence have little time and will to really worry about animals or abusers of animals. Here in Taiwan dogs are treated horribly everywhere (guard dogs tied to a two foot leash, or pet dogs stuck in outdoor kennels for most of the day howling out of loneliness), and yet a lot of people are Buddhist.
I wouldn't consider Taiwan to be a poor country. Though the ascendency of mainland China may have eclipsed them.
However huge numbers of Asians remain whose attitudes are those of misogynistic, medieval peasants.
This assumes a narrative of progress where those huge numbers of Asians should eventually naturally progress and adopt liberal western ideas, but for whatever reason are "stuck in medieval times" in their thinking.
You should consider that gender roles often fulfil practical and necessary functions. If they did not, then natural selection would quickly see to their elimination, but the traditional roles assigned to women throughout history east and west (childcare, housekeeping, etc...) have existed for a lot longer than our present system in the west. We'd like to think we're more enlightened and better off than medieval peasants as you would pejoratively call them, but for all the faults of the latter they didn't have the same problems we do (for instance people killing themselves at Christmas just because their family life sucks).
Traditional family models and gender divisions might actually contribute to social stability and in the end make people more content rather than these new liberal ideas we got running which have clearly failed to produce anything more stable and fulfilling.
Those Asian cultures which are adopting western liberal ideas maybe only do so because of the west's economic hegemony, not because they are inherently better or more moral. If it were the other way around, we'd be adopting their social ideas and models. Throughout all of history it tends to work like this. If you are an economic and military juggernaut, satellite cultures adopt much of your practices and ways in an attempt to emulate the same road to prosperity in their own cultures.
You should check out the news coming out of India. There have been massive protests in New Delhi by women because of a brutal rape of girl on a bus (and who is in Singapore right now fighting for her life).
The protests aren't due to just this single incident, it's because the culture is one of constant degradation of women. Here's a firsthand blog on what it's like to be a woman in New Delhi: http://daddysan.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/the-subjugation-capital/
Let's not idealize medieval peasants because they didn't kill themselves during Christmas. Lots of slaves don't commit suicide either. Peasants and the poor are at the bottom of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Yes, they don't have the luxury to adopt liberal western ideas, nor to they have the luxury to spend time in a Buddhist practice that may lead them to enlightenment and end their suffering. But often times they don't adopt something new because they don't realize they have a choice. But as you see how others live, that gives you an option as to whether you want to stay the way you are or to change.
Samsara is a messed up place and there are many things that haven't been filtered out due to natural selection. War. Poverty. Subjugation of the have nots by the haves. Just because natural selection hasn't eliminated them, doesn't make those things right.