Global Issues and Policy Solutions
Chapter 2: Women’s Employment Around the Globe
Gender differences in labor market outcomes around the world typically encompass a number of areas: participation rates in the formal labor market, segregation by occupation and industry, wage differentials, and hours of paid and unpaid work. Especially in less developed countries, high female labor force participation rates may not dramatically differ from those of men. Larger gender differences begin to emerge primarily in the realm of unpaid domestic work. Women generally work longer hours than men and they perform more unpaid housework than men. Moreover, men tend to experience a fairly stable time use profile over their lifetimes, whereas women experience more variable paid and unpaid workloads as family structures change. The differences between men and women are largest when caring for young children. On average, when women engage in paid work, they earn less than men. Gender differences in wages are an international phenomenon, and the male advantage in wages often persists over time. Gender differences in occupational distributions can play a major role in explaining gender earnings gaps: if women are concentrated in relatively low-paying occupations, or if pay structures within occupations are inequitable across gender, then women will have lower average earnings than men. Across countries, men and women cluster in different occupations and industries. This chapter discusses each of these patterns in more detail. Labor Force Participation The relationship between economic development and women’s participation in the formal labor market exhibits a fairly predictable and well-documented relationship. In countries that still have relatively large agricultural sectors...
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