Women and the future of work
In 2015, International Women’s Day will highlight the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a historic roadmap signed by 189 governments 20 years ago that sets the agenda for realizing women’s rights. While there have been many achievements since then, many serious gaps remain. This is the time to uphold women’s achievements, recognize challenges, and focus greater attention on women’s rights and gender equality to mobilize all people to do their part.
While there have been many achievements on gender equality since the Beijing Declaration on women rights was signed by 189 governments in 1995, many challenges remain, including a motherhood pay gap.
New Garment Industry Data shows Gender Equality Progress and Challenges
Women at work: 20 years of progress and challenges
More young women and men aged 15 to 24 are out of work today than 20 years ago. The number of young women working is much lower than young men – less than 40 per cent are in the labour force.
Today, fewer women are in vulnerable employment than 20 years ago, and their risk of having such work has declined more than it has for men.
There are now more women in government than before; however, in 2015 only one out of twelve heads of government are women worldwide.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle listens to his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar (2011)
In 2015 women head up only 5 per cent of the Fortune 500, up from zero in 1995. Women have a better chance of becoming managers, but mostly in certain areas – human resources, communications, finance and administration.
Virginia M. Rometty, Chairwoman, President, and CEO, IBM
More than half of all countries worldwide today offer 14 weeks or more of maternity leave, but only 41 per cent of all women benefit. Fathers now enjoy paid paternity leave (between one to 90 days) in at least 78 countries.
The gender pay gap is closing, but at a glacial rate. Women still earn on average 23 per cent less than men. At the current rate of change, that gap won’t close for another 70 years.
Mothers not only bear the main responsibility for childcare, but earn less as a result.
While men are beginning to spend more time on providing care, women still shoulder the lion’s share of unpaid care work at home. The more time spent on unpaid care work, the less likely a woman will have a decent job.
Women with disabilities are at greater risk of poverty and unemployment than disabled men. In most countries, men with disabilities are twice as likely to have work and earn more than women with disabilities.
In Asia, more women are moving away from employment in the agriculture sector to work in the industry and the services sector.
Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest labour force participation rate for women (65 per cent versus a global figure of 50 per cent).
There are now 17 million more women working in the Arab States than in 1995 and there are more women employed in high-skilled jobs, which are generally better paid. Over the last 20 years, the number of women working in the Middle East almost tripled (from around 6 million to 15 million). However, there are wide gender gaps in participation, as more than three times as many men are working than women in the region.
Today, most women in Latin America work in the services sector.
There are more women working in Developed Countries and the European Union today than before.