Women in Global Labour Market: Effects of Crisis

Even tough United Nations seems to support increased level of implementation of equal education and job opportunities for women and men, the figures about women employment suggests that this effort still on the theorical level. When Fourth World Conference on Women has been gathered in order to discuss about the status of the women, the following points can be found under “Women and Economics” header:

  • Promote women’s economic rights and independence, including access to employment, appropriate working conditions and control over economic resources.
  • Facilitate women’s equal access to resources, employment, markets and trade.
  • Provide business services, training and access to markets, information and technology, particularly to low-income women.
  • Strengthen women’s economic capacity and commercial networks.
  • Eliminate occupational segregation and all forms of employment  discrimination.
  • Promote harmonization of work and family responsibilities

(Retrieved from http://www.ilo.org)

These goals has been subject to rewievs and improvements of the UN and The ILO in 5-years periods since 1985 but the financial crisis in the USA and Eurozone crisis in the European continent have made these goals much more reachable and created a bigger gap between men and women employment. According to the ILO reports, in 2012 29 million jobs lost and still to be recovered and additional 2.5 million expected to be lost in 2013. In 2012, women unemployment rate has increased to 5.8% (72 million women unemployed out of 1.2 billion) while male unemployment rate at 5.3% (98 million unemployed men out of 1.8 billion) and total of 13 million jobs has been lost for women. According to the ILO reports, all these statistics put out that the lowest gender gap, which is measured in mostly in Asian countries, increased by 0.5% and reach to 1% and globally this gap has reached to 0.7%. As ILO expects that this gap can not be reduced before 2017, the last 5-year review of the UN and the ILO on “Women and Economics” seems to fail again. In addition, unemployment is not the only gap expected to be solved. In both developing and advanced economy countries women still  mostly worked in mid-skill level jobs such as clerks, service workers and sales workes as men were over-represented in crafts, plant and machine operations and managerial occupations. Even tough education level of women has increased in developing countries, barriers for women still obvious.

Even tough global forums and actions should be taken in order to solve unequality problems between genders should be taken to create more awarness to the topic, to create more country and cultural based policies about gender employment. Even tough the UN and the ILO manages its activities by global thinking, these institutions may be creating their solutions in a very centric way. Gender equality in education and employment should be taken as matter of improvement national and global economy, not only matter of human rights and education and business environmet are intensively effected by local cultures. From that aspect, governments should be encouraged for creating more local solutions with the monitoring of the UN.

written by Yvonne Kohaus, Carl-Frederic Korn and Hasan Can Acar


7 thoughts on “Women in Global Labour Market: Effects of Crisis

  1. My own opinion is, that this problem could be solved in the short term just in the developed countries. And there is a big question, if women would ever be equal to men in the developing countries. I hope the gender gap will at least lower in these countries and that the working conditions will be better in the future.

  2. Equal education and job opportunities for women and men are in my opinion very complex problems. Before experts focus on numbers and creating and counting number of job positions and wages of women, they should focus on changing people minds. The idea of women equality is still very young – first women gained limited voting rights in the late 19th century. That’s 200 hundred years – that is nothing compared to thousands of years when women were looked at like something inferior. In minds of many people, mostly from undeveloped countries this is still true. In European, American and other developed countries it’s getting better every year, and I am a great supporter. But I think experts should focus more on global view and change minds of people all over the world about this.

    Another thing comes to my mind – even after globally accepting all women all over the world by everybody there still will be slight inequality in job opportunities between men and women. You can’t expect a frail woman to work on construction with jackhammers and you as well can’t expect men to know how to bring up children in kindergartens as good as women do. 🙂

  3. I agree with opinion that global forums should be taken in order to solve this unequality problems between genders. I also think that also Goverment of each state should try to solve this serious problem. According to SLOVSTAT (2012) unemployment rate of Slovak women in productive age in 2012 was 13,9% . Men unemployment rate was lower, only 11,7%, so in Slovak republic women have unequal position in Labour market. Even women after finishing their studies are in the worst situation. Employers usually suppose that women after finishing their studies want to marry and then start their families. That is the reason why many employers prefer men for vacant positions.

  4. This is sad but true. A bigger role of women in the labor market, however, would significantly increase economic prosperity in the industrialized countries, which are facing major demographic challenges, as well as in emerging markets, the need to generate growth.

  5. In my opinion, in the minds of many people is still functioning opinion that man is the head of the family and it is his obligation to maintain the family. If the employer is representing this way of thinking and have a choice to dismiss men or women, will choose a woman as the one who may be dependent on a man.
    Another factor affecting on the woman situation on labour market is the fact that the wrong regulations make the woman as a potential mother is always less attractive in the labor market than men

  6. In addition during the crisis in certain regions women had higher unemployment rates than men. For example in Africa, South and South-East Asia, and Latin America. However in more advanced economies such as Europe, there were negative figures shown between gender unemployment, with men experiencing higher rates than women. From 2002 to 2007, the female unemployment rate was 5.8 per cent, compared with 5.3 per cent for males. The crisis raised this gap to 0.7 meaning it made it more difficult for women to find work. As there is still a divide more effective policies are needed to reduce gender gaps as this can help to improve economic growth and standards of living.

    – Kelly, Lauren, Becky

  7. I believe that nowadays women are slowly becoming more visible in the socio-political plane and UN has taken significant strides in developing its legal and institutional framework. In spite of this however, it will probably be quite some time before the effects of new legislation on gender equality are confirmed in social practice. The dominant attitude that woman’s natural place is primarily in the home with their family is often mirrored in the media and school textbooks. Young women are faced with societal demands to fulfill the socially desirable role of the mother and of a efficient and productive worker. The result is an unfavorable position for women in the labour market, where employers often regard them as undesirable workers because of their expected family duties. I think that there always will be a gender gap between man and women, but I also believe that with the coming year it will decrease.


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