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Women at Work in 2016: A report by ILO

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  • This report provides a picture of where women stand today in the world of work and how they have progressed over the past 20 years.
  • This report examines the global and regional labour market trend and gaps, including in labour force participation rates, employment-to-population rates and unemployment rates, as well as differences in the type and status in employment, hours spent in paid and unpaid work, sectoral segregation and gender gaps in wages and social protection.
  • It also presents an in-depth analysis of the gender gaps in the quality of work and explores the key policy drivers for gender transformative change.

Main Highlights:

  • The difference in the employment rate between men and women had decreased by 0.6% since 1995.
  • In countries where women access work more easily, the quality of their jobs still "remains a matter of concern".
  • The report looked at data from 178 countries and found that rate of women's participation in the workforce was 25.5% lower than men's participation in 2015 - a gap only 0.6% smaller than 20 years earlier.
  • In many regions of the world, women were more likely to stay unemployed - 6.2% of women are jobless across the world compared to 5.5% of men - and often had to accept lower quality jobs.
  • The distribution of unpaid care and household work remains unequal in both high and lower income countries, the report said, although this gap has reduced.
  • Women, however, continue to work longer hours per day than men when both paid work and unpaid work are taken into consideration.
  • The rate of women in senior business roles around the world had risen 3% in the past five years, to stand at 24%.
  • Russia once again topped the ranking of countries with the highest percentage of women in senior business roles, followed by the Philippines and Lithuania.
  • Japan, where only 7% of senior leadership roles are held by women, remained at the bottom of the list.
  • Since 1995, women’s employment in services has increased from 41.1 percent to 61.5 percent.
  • Across the world, women represent less than 40 percent of total employment, but make up 57 percent of those working on a part-time basis.
  • Globally, the gender wage gap is estimated to be 23 per cent; in other words, women earn 77 per cent of what men earn. If current trends prevail, it will take more than 70 years before gender wage gaps are closed completely.
  • Nearly 65 per cent of people above retirement age without any regular pension are women. This means that 200 million women in old age live without any regular income from social protection (old age or survivors pension), compared to 115 million men.

About India:

  • The percentage of women working in Bangladesh is three times higher than in India, which ranks last among BRICS countries in terms of women’s labour-force participation; among G-20 countries, it is second to last–behind only Saudi Arabia.
  • Despite the increasing number of women pursuing secondary and post-secondary education, India’s women keep dropping out. Since 2005, more than 25 million Indian women have left the labour force.
  • India's unemployment rate remained at 3.5 per cent in 2014 and 2015 but will decrease slightly to 3.4 per cent in 2016 and 2017
  • In India, Estonia, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Republic of Korea and Turkey, women devote more than three times as much time to unpaid care work as men do.
  • In countries with social insurance systems such as India, employers are still statutorily responsible for the full payment of providing maternity protection, when women do not qualify for contributory social security benefits.


  • An integrated policy framework is needed to promote women’s access to more and better quality jobs.
  • Affirmative action policies represent an important measure that can be applied by governments, trade unions, employers’ organizations and companies to help remedy the severe underrepresentation of women and their concerns in decision-making in business and societies.
  • Education, outreach and training programmes must be designed to encourage and enable girls, boys and young women and men to venture more into non-stereotypical fields of study and work.
  • More determined efforts to eliminate outright discrimination and to embed the principle of equal opportunity and treatment between women and men in laws and institutions constitute a key first step.
  • Further progress can be made by promoting equal remuneration for work of equal value through wage transparency, training and gender-neutral job evaluations. These measures will help significantly in identifying discriminatory pay practices and unfair pay differences.
  • In addition, countries need to support adequate and inclusive minimum wages and to strengthen collective bargaining as key tools in efforts to address low pay, improve women’s wages and hence reduce gender wage gaps.
  • Unpaid care work must be recognized, reduced and redistributed and harmonization achieved between work and family life.

Vishal Thakur By - Vishal Thakur
Posted On - 3/10/2016 12:00:00 AM

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