Women are concentrated in lower-paid, lower-skill work with greater job insecurity and under-represented in decision-making roles and fields such as science and technology. Today, half the global working population works in services, a sector where women dominate. The share of women in services reaches as high as 77 per cent and 91.4 per cent respectively in East Asia and Northern America. Where women work varies greatly by region and income-level though: In high-income countries, women are concentrated in health, education, wholesale and retail trade sectors, whereas in low-income and lower-middle-income countries women are concentrated in agricultural labour. Sectoral and occupational segregation is a consequence of structural barriers and gender-based discrimination, such as poverty, inflexible working hours, limited or no access to affordable quality childcare, poor parental leave policies and social attitudes, among many other factors. Women’s leadership and representation in trade unions, worker and employer organizations and corporate boards is critical to upholding fundamental labour rights and ensuring decent work for all.
Globalization, digital innovation and climate change, among other factors, continue to change the world in which we work — posing both challenges as well as opportunities in realizing women’s economic potential for a better tomorrow. HERE is some facts on where women stand today in the changing world of work.