From Polar Winds to Tropical Breezes
Appendix E: Women in the workforce worldwide: trend
s Ann Gregory A striking trend in recent decades is the increasing proportion of women entering the labour force, reaching a world average of 63 per cent (ILO, 2004a). North Africa and the Middle East are exceptions, with only two out of every ten women of working age employed (ILO, 2004a) – see Figure E.1. Women also have higher unemployment rates, signiﬁcant pay diﬀerentials (see ILO, 2004a); and persistent occupational segregation continues (World Bank Policy Research Report, 2001). Women are overrepresented in service occupations, technical jobs, and clerical and sales jobs, and men are overrepresented in production and higher-paying administrative and managerial positions. This contributes to pay inequity. ‘Recent empirical studies from 71 countries indicate that, on average in developed countries women earn 77 per cent as much as men, and in developing countries, 73 per cent as much’ (World Bank Policy Research Report, 2001). The International Labor Organization (1997) has characterized the rate of progress for women in managerial positions as slow and uneven, but, in most countries studied (several in each continent), progress was being made. The share of women’s professional jobs in 2000–2002 was highest in Eastern Europe and the Confederation of Independent States (CIS); the highest proportion was in Lithuania, which was 70.2 per cent. Other than the above countries, the data show that countries in the Americas have a higher share of women in managerial jobs than most other countries in the world. Although the proportion of women in top management has increased...
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