Gender gaps remain pressing challenge: UN labor agency

Updated 2017-06-15 10:03:38 Xinhua

The International Labor Organization (ILO) warned on Wednesday that gender gaps remain one of the most pressing challenges, with women substantially less likely than men to participate in the labor market.

According to the ILO's report "World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends for Women 2017", the global labor force participation rate for women remains at just over 49 percent this year, while the rate for men would be around 76 percent.

According to the report, when women do participate in the labor market, they are more likely than their male counterparts to be unemployed. Globally, the unemployment rate for women stands at 6.2 percent in 2017, compared to the male rate of 5.5 percent.

"The fact that half of women worldwide are out of the labor force when 58 percent of them would prefer to work at paid jobs is a strong indication that there are significant challenges restricting their capabilities and freedom to participate," said ILO Deputy Director-General for Policy Deborah Greenfield.

The report noted that a woman's preference and decision to participate in the labor market and their access to quality jobs can be affected by a number of factors, including discrimination, education, unpaid care work, work-family balance and marital status.

"The most immediate concern for policy makers, therefore, should be to alleviate the constraints that women face in choosing to enter the labor market and address the barriers they are confronted with once they are in the workplace," Greenfield said.

In 2014, G20 leaders made a commitment to reduce the gap in participation rates between men and women by 25 percent by the year 2025.

The report estimated that if this goal was realized at the global level, it has the potential to add 5.8 trillion U.S. dollars to the global economy and increase global tax revenue by 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars.

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