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Sat Oct 22 10:56:52 SAST 2016

Women's Day‚ but a raw deal for women workers

TMG Digital | 07 March, 2016 20:31
Titled “Women at Work: Trends 2016”‚ the report concludes that inequality between women and men persists across a wide spectrum of the global labour market. File photo

With International Women’s Day looming‚ the International Labour Organisation published a report on Monday saying that women across the globe were finding it difficult to find and keep jobs and to be treated equally.

ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said: “The report shows the enormous challenges women continue to face in finding and keeping decent jobs.”

Titled “Women at Work: Trends 2016”‚ the report concludes that inequality between women and men persists across a wide spectrum of the global labour market.

“What’s more‚ the report shows that over the last two decades‚ significant progress made by women in education hasn’t translated into comparable improvements in their position at work‚” according to a summary of the report on the ILO’s website.

The picture with regard to Southern Africa is grim: “Although 52.1% of women and 51.2% of men in the labour market are wage and salaried workers‚ this in itself constitutes no guarantee of higher job quality. Globally‚ 38% of women and 36% of men in wage employment do not contribute to social protection. The proportions for women reach 63.2% in sub-Saharan Africa and 74.2% in Southern Asia where informal employment is the dominant form of employment.”

The report‚ based on research in 178 countries‚ finds that in both paid and unpaid work‚ women work longer hours per day than men. “On average‚ women carry out at least two and a half times more unpaid household and care work than men.”

In more than 100 countries‚ more than one third of employed men (35.5%) and more than one fourth of employed women (25.7%) work more than 48 hours a week.

Women also lose out when it comes to pension coverage‚ which is lower for women than men‚ leaving an overall gender social protection coverage gap.

Moreover “progress in getting women into more and quality jobs is stagnating”.

Women still earn on average 77% of what men earn. “The report notes that this wage gap cannot be explained solely by differences in education or age. This gap can be linked to the undervaluation of the work women undertake and of the skills required in female-dominated sectors or occupations‚ discrimination‚ and the need for women to take career breaks or reduce hours in paid work to attend to additional care responsibilities such as child care.

"Though there has been some small improvement in reducing gender wage gaps‚ if current trends prevail‚ the report confirms estimates that it will take more than 70 years to close the gender wage gaps completely.”


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