International Women's Day

Women at Work – Trends 2016

Gender gap in labour force participation has declined only marginally. Joni Simpson, Senior Specialist on Gender, Equality & Non-Discrimination, explains the report findings including wage gaps and some of the specific challenges that prevent women in Asia and the Pacific from contributing fully to the economy and society.

Feature | 08 March 2016
To mark International Women Day (8 March), the ILO launched the Women at Work: Trends 2016 report.

The report finds that economic growth and development alone will not be enough to reduce the inequality between men and women in wages and the employment opportunities available to them.

Joni Simpson, the ILO’s Senior Specialist on Gender, Equality & Non-Discrimination, explains the report findings and some of the specific challenges that prevent women in Asia Pacific from contributing fully to the economy and society.

Wage gaps

The report by the ILO found that globally the labour force participation gender gap has only declined marginally. In East Asia and South Asia the gap in the percentage of women and men in the workforce has actually grown by 0.6 and 2.3 points respectively.


Occupational segregation

Occupational segregation happens when women or men are over-concentrated in specific sectors or jobs, and those jobs then become associated with one gender. More than half of all the world’s women are now employed in the service sector – particularly education, health and care work. These jobs are often under-valued, poorly paid, and frequently part-time or in the informal economy. These factors fuel the gender the pay gap.


Policy responses

The report concludes that relying simply on economic growth will not be enough to tackle issues like occupational segregation, valuing and redistribution of care and the gender pay gap. Specific policies are needed, backed by enforcement, to close the gender gaps and create a more equitable society and a better future for all women and men.