A new ILO World Employment Social Outlook Report 2019 has revealed that gender gap in labour force participation globally remains large.
The report which assesses the impact of both new and long-standing challenges on global labour market trends depicts a staggering disparity within the world labour force market despite efforts on closing the gender gap.
According to the report, the much lower labour force participation rate of women, which stood at 48 per cent in 2018 compared with 75 per cent for men, means that around three in five of the 3.5 billion people in the global labour force in 2018 were men.
Although in low-, lower-middle- and upper-middle-income countries, male participation rates were quite similar, ranging from 75 to 79 per cent in 2018, the highest participation rate for women in the same year was 64 per cent and was observed in low-income countries; in lower-middle-income.
It also argues that the sizeable gap of 27 percentage points registered in 2018 should motivate policy action aimed at both improving gender equality in global labour markets and maximizing human capabilities.
“This downward trend is projected to continue in the future. Some of the factors behind it – such as increased educational enrolment, greater retirement opportunities and higher life expectancy – are of course positive. Yet, the rise in the dependency ratio (i.e. the proportion of economically inactive people relative to the active) poses new challenges in terms of the organization of work and the distribution of resources in society,” it noted.
Gender gaps in the labour market arise from a multitude of inter-related factors, including social norms, gender roles and socio-economic constraints that are often deeply rooted in societies. Consequently, it takes a long time to tackle them even when the political will is there.
World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2019 provides a global overview of recent trends in labour force participation, employment, unemployment, potential labour force, productivity, as well as different dimensions of job quality such as employment status, informal employment and working poverty. The overview covers 189 countries in the world and describes patterns across the regions. The report also examines income and social developments and provides an indicator of social unrest.