ILO Brief: Women’s Global Employment Trends
Friday, June 1, 2007 8:44 AM

The International Labour Office (ILO) found that the disparity between men and women in the work force is decreasing at a slow rate and that there is still much to be done before gender equality in employment is achieved. While more women than ever are employed and in salaried jobs, more women are also unemployed, in low paying jobs, or are paid less for performing equal work.

Women are more likely to be unemployed with a 6.6 percent unemployment rate, compared to just 6.1 percent for men. Even when women do work, they often have low-paying jobs. Women comprise sixty percent of what is known as the world’s working poor – those who work but do not make more than a dollar a person a day. Not only do these wages not allow women and their families to rise above the poverty level, but low-paying jobs also result in a lack of legal protection and job security. 

Furthermore, the poorer the country, the more likely women are employed in lower-paid jobs than men.  Women in poorer regions are also more often unpaid contributing family workers compared to men. This is true in Sub-Saharan and North Africa, South East and South Asia, and the Middle East. 

Economies are less likely to utilize working women than working men.  Employment to population ratios reveal that while over seventy percent of men eligible to work are employed, only fifty percent of eligible women work.. Furthermore, women in most jobs and in most countries earn ninety percent or less than men employed in the same jobs. Finally, women are less likely and able to obtain education. 

Compiled from: Global Employment Trends for Women 2007: ILO Study Warns on the Feminization of Working PovertyCINTERFOR, 31 May 2007.