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ILO Global Employment Trends for Women 2012: Vulnerability gaps are still high in Africa

Women face higher unemployment rates than men globally, with no improvements likely in the coming years, according to the new ILO Global Employment Trends for Women 2012 Report.

Press release | 11 December 2012

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA (ILO News) – Women face higher unemployment rates than men globally, with no improvements likely in the coming years, according to the new ILO Global Employment Trends for Women 2012 Report.

Vulnerability gaps are pervasive and still high in Africa. They varied, with North Africa at 24 percentage points and Sub-Saharan Africa at 15 points, the study reveals.

Analysis of regional trends shows that, over 2002 to 2007, women had higher unemployment rates than men in Africa

In North Africa, women were on average 2.1 times more likely to be unemployed than their male counterparts. For young women, the gender gap in the unemployment rate was even larger.

The crisis appears to have worsened gender gaps in unemployment across all regions, regardless of whether they were on the front lines of the crisis.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s already very high and rising female labour force participation rates unfortunately seem to be due to a negative factor: persistent and pervasive poverty, making economic activity a necessity rather than an option.

A significant number of Eastern African women lost their jobs in textiles and high-value agricultural sub-sectors.

Key policy options

Countries that were able to offer labour market policies to unemployed women on a large scale already had programs in place, such as South Africa’s women’s quota in its expansion of its public works program. The expansion of electricity networks in rural South Africa appears to have increased women’s employment by 10 percentage points in 5 years (World Bank, 2012).

In the Middle East and North Africa, it is expected that GDP would increase by US$415 billion if the gap drops from 50.6 to 30.6 percentage points between 2012 and 2017, with significant effects in the regions’ per capita GDP.

For more detailed info, please visit our newsroom @ www.ilo.org

END

Regions and countries covered: Africa

Unit responsible: Regional Office for Africa

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