Global Statistics from the International Labor Organization

Globalization has created both unprecedented economic opportunities as well as deepened social inequalities and personal insecurities. Both women and men have been affected. However, gender inequalities persist and it is overwhelmingly women who suffer the most. While women's welfare is better in some regions than others, the problems are essentially the same; the only real difference is matter of degree.

  • With 54 per cent of working age women in the labour force as compared to over 80 per cent male participation, the world is not making the most of its female talents and potentials.
  • Poverty is increasingly feminized. Women constitute 70 per cent of the world’s 1.3 billion absolute poor.

  • Half of the world’s labour is in sex-stereotyped occupations, with women dominating those occupations which are lowest paying and least protected.

  • More and more women are entering paid work but more jobs have often not meant better jobs. In developed countries, most new employment has been in part-time jobs, while in developing countries women have gone mainly into the informal sector and home-based work. Globally, women earn 20-30 per cent less than men.

  • Women continue to be mainly responsible for the "care economy". If the value of the unpaid, invisible work done by women - approximately US$11 trillion per annum - is included, global output would be almost 50 per cent greater.

  • Some women have breached glass walls and ceilings, but worldwide they hold only 1 per cent of chief executive positions. The majority experience the effects of the so-called "sticky floor" - on the bottom rungs of their occupation.

  • More women are creating their own businesses, which are important sources of employment. But the policy, regulatory and institutional environments are often unfriendly to women entrepreneurs.

  • Women are increasingly migrating, both legally and illegally, for employment. Female migrant workers are among the most vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. The international trafficking of women and children (boys and girls) is one of the most serious and fastest growing problems today.

  • Women continue to have less access than men to investments in skills, knowledge and lifelong learning. In a world increasingly dominated by information and communication technology, gender inequalities lead to new forms of social exclusion.

  • The gender gap is graying into a poverty trap: women face a much higher risk than men of a drastic drop in living standards when they retire. Yet, women account for the majority of the over-60 population in almost all countries.