Despite progress, inequalities persist for women in labour market- ILO

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As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, the International Labour Organization says a new study done by them has shown that women are less likely to participate in the labour market than men and are more likely to be unemployed in most parts of the world.

© S. Samanian / ABADE Programme

According to the World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends for Women 2018 – Global snapshot , the global women’s labour force participation rate – at 48.5 per cent in 2018 – is still 26.5 percentage points below the rate of their male counterparts.

Moreover, the global unemployment rate of women for 2018 – at 6 per cent – is approximately 0.8 percentage points higher than the rate for men. Altogether, this means that for every ten men in a job, only 6 women are in employment.

“Despite the progress achieved and the commitments made to further improvement, women’s prospects in the world of work are still a long way from being equal to men’s,” said Deborah Greenfield, ILO Deputy Director-General for Policy.

“Whether it is about access to employment, wage inequality or other forms of discrimination, we need to do more to reverse this persistent, unacceptable trend by putting in place policies tailored to women, also taking into account the unequal demands that they face in household and care responsibilities,” she added.

The ILO study also outlines significant disparities, depending on the wealth of countries.

For instance, differences in unemployment rates between women and men in developed countries are relatively small. Women even register lower unemployment rates than men in Eastern Europe and North America.

Conversely, in regions such as the Arab States and Northern Africa, female unemployment rates are still twice as large as men’s, with prevailing social norms continuing to obstruct women’s participation in paid employment.

Looking at women running businesses, the authors note that globally, four times as many men are working as employers than women in 2018. Such gender gaps are also reflected in management positions, where women continue to face labour market barriers when it comes to accessing management positions.

“Persistent challenges and obstacles for women will reduce the possibility for societies to develop pathways for economic growth with social development. Closing gender gaps in the world of work thus should remain a top priority if we want to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030,” concluded Damian Grimshaw, Director of the ILO Research Department.

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