Gender data highlights
March 2017 - The dramatic increase in the number of women and mothers in the workforce in recent decades has led to large shifts in the way partners in couple families share and organise paid work. In many OECD countries, the dominance of the traditional male-breadwinner model is now largely a thing of the past. In most countries, fewer than one in three couples with at least one child have a father who works 40 or more hours per week and a mother who is not in paid work, and in Belgium, Denmark, France, Norway and Sweden, this falls to below one in ten couple families.
March 2017 - A new online monthly survey, the Future of Business Survey, reveals encouraging findings about the level of confidence of women who own businesses with an online presence.
Typically, countries show gender gaps in factors that are important for entrepreneurship. On average, men are more likely than women to declare that they would have access to money to set up a business and to training to help them do so.
March 2017 - Women are less likely than men to report that they can access the financing needed to start a business in all countries except for the United States, Mexico, Greece and Indonesia, where men and women are equally likely to report to have access to finance (see figure below). This gender gap can be associated with women having lower levels of experience, operating in highly competitive and low-growth sectors, as well as gender-biased credit scoring and gender stereotyping in investment evaluations. Women are also often hindered by less access to basic financial services (e.g. checking and savings accounts).
March 2017 - The current overall health workforce is mostly composed of women. Nonetheless, female health workers remain underrepresented in highly skilled occupations, such as in surgery. As of 2015, just under half of all doctors are women across OECD countries on average. The variation across countries is significant: in Japan and Korea only around 20% of doctors are women, in Latvia and Estonia this proportion is over 70%.
March 2017 - Gender-based discrimination in social institutions has recently been estimated to be a burden for economic growth. Globally, the current level of discrimination in formal and informal laws, social norms and practices, measured by the OECD Development Centre’s Social Institutions and Gender Index - SIGI - is estimated to lead to a significant GDP-loss and a gradual dismantling of gender based discriminatory social institutions by 2030 could increase the annual GDP global growth rate by 0.03 to 0.6 percentage points over the next 15 years, depending on the scenario and the prevalence of existing gender gaps (Ferrant and Kolev, 2016).
March 2017 - In recent decades, the number of women in the judiciary has significantly increased worldwide. In many countries around half of law students are women, and 2014 data shows that women in OECD countries make up more than 54% of professional judges. But women are still vastly underrepresented in top-ranking judicial positions including on High Court benches and other senior roles in the legal profession.
March 2016 - Gender equality forms part of research and innovation policy in many countries and organisations. It aims to promote equal participation and opportunities for women and men in research careers, encompassing issues ranging from compulsory education to gender balance in scientific decision-making. Achieving parity in participation in tertiary education is of particular importance, especially in research degrees, as this provides an increasingly important entry mechanism into research careers and senior roles across the science and innovation system.
March 2016 - One of the most remarkable consequences of the expansion of education in OECD countries over the past decades is the reversal of the gender gap in education. From outright exclusion and discrimination in educational institutions less than a century ago, girls and young women have conquered schools and colleges. In 2013, 55% of all students graduating from a general secondary education programme were girls.
March 2016 - There are inherent risks when choosing to set-up a new business. However, some of these risks, like attaining a satisfactory work-life balance are often more inhibiting for women than for men. In fact, independently of a country’s economic context and the overall cultural attitude toward entrepreneurship, women always appear less prone to take the risk of creating their own business than men.
March 2016 - The gender gap in mortality from cancer remains large in OECD countries, with mortality rates among men being nearly 70% higher than among women on average (as shown in the last edition of Health at a Glance 2015). But the good news is that this gender gap has narrowed since the mid-1990s as mortality rates among men declined more rapidly. This gender gap in cancer mortality can be explained by a greater prevalence of risk factors among men, notably higher smoking rates.
March 2016 - A recent study by the OECD indicates that gender-based discrimination in social institutions impedes economic growth. Deeply entrenched discrimination in formal or informal laws, social norms or practices poses significant and enduring obstacles for women worldwide. According to the OECD study, there is a strong negative relationship between gender-based discrimination in social institutions, measured by the OECD’s Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI), and income per capita.
March 2016 - In recent year, progress has been made in recognising the gendered impacts of climate change and women’s key contribution to developing effective and locally appropriate climate solutions. The landmark Paris Agreement adopted at COP21 marks another important step forward by providing a mandate for advancing the integration of gender equality into adaptation measures and capacity-building activities. Yet, the real litmus test will lie in how political commitments translate into progress on the ground.
September 2015 - The UN Sustainable Development Goals could be a real game changer for gender issues, with wins in fraught areas such as reproductive rights. But there will be challenges, and opposing voices, to contend with in the years ahead.
© OECD Observer
June 2015 - Gender inequality is one of the most primitive and oldest forms of inequality. Sadly, it is still very much a reality in most parts of the world. In many countries women do not have equal access to education, healthcare, safety, work or political decision-making.
© OECD Observer
June 2015 - This year’s OECD Forum coincides with the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration, which was an important milestone to promote gender equality worldwide. Much has been achieved since 1995, but unfortunately, a lot remains to be done to close the gender gap and increase women’s participation in our economies and societies.
© OECD Observer
June 2015 - Of the abundant resources given to mankind, what is the most underused resource of our time? Without a doubt, women!
The potential of women must be fully tapped if we are to secure a path to sustainable development and address the ever-decreasing working-age population in the post-2015 era.
© OECD Observer
June 2015 - The 30% Club is a group of company chairmen, chairwomen and CEOs committed to achieving better gender balance at all levels of their organisations through voluntary actions.
Business leadership is key: this takes the issue beyond a specialist diversity effort and into mainstream talent management. This is a collaborative approach to creating change.
© OECD Observer
March 2015 - Over the last six years women have increased their participation in volunteering and are today almost on par with men. The biggest increase in female participation in voluntary activities was registered in Italy, the Slovak Republic, Canada and Estonia. In many countries a gender dimension is more apparent in specific sectors and voluntary roles rather than in overall participation rates in volunteering. Men are much more likely than women to volunteer in sports associations, while women make up the majority of volunteers active in the social and health sector.
March 2015 - Closing gender gaps in education by improving female education require addressing discriminatory social norms such as early marriage. Education is essential for women’s and girl’s empowerment, but social norms, such as early marriage, force girls to abandon their education limiting educational opportunities. This is extremely important for developing countries where increased female education can be a catalyst for change leading to better health and employment outcomes and increase women’s decision-making power.
March 2015 - In October 2015, it will be 15 years since the adoption of the landmark United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. While greater political attention at the international level has contributed to an increased focus on gender equality in donor support to fragile states, only a small proportion of aid to fragile states addresses women’s needs and priorities.
March 2015 - For most people, the Internet is now part of everyday life. On average, about 80% of adults and 95% of 16-24-years-olds in the OECD use the Internet, most of them on a daily basis. And so do women, with the gender gap in Internet use closing up in a majority of OECD countries. In 2005, only 55% of women and 61% men were Internet users while these ratios have now reached 80% and 82% respectively.
March 2015 - Are the gender differences found in mathematics or reading performance also observed in financial literacy performance? The 2012 PISA financial literacy assessment revealed that there are no gender differences in financial literacy scores among 15-year-old students in most countries and economies participating in the exercise. Only in Italy do boys perform better than girls, but differences are small.
The data show that across European OECD countries and the United States, pension payments to individuals aged 65 and over were 28% lower, on average, for women than for men. Differences are above 40% in Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, while in Estonia the pension gap is small. And having often spent more caring for children or relatives over their lifetimes, older women often do not meet contributory requirements and are therefore more likely to receive minimum pension payments or old-age safety nets.
March 2015 - Unequal pay between men and women continues to pose problems, despite decades of legislation by governments to address it, like the Equal Pay Act in the United States and the French labour code on wage equality introduced about half a century ago. In fact, not only are women still paid considerably less than men throughout the world, but UN predictions suggest the gap will persist for 70 years to come.
© OECD Observer
June 2014 - “I am only a woman!” declares Sybylla Melvyn with deliberate irony, in the Australian classic novel, My Brilliant Career. When Miles Franklin wrote the novel in 1901, aged just 19, she was embarking on her own career path, and though successful, like Sybylla, she encountered many social, economic and cultural hurdles along the way.
© OECD Observer
March 2014 - Greater gender equality in working hours is not just about more women in full-time employment. It is also about more men reducing their long hours in paid work. Although detailed information is available for a limited number of OECD countries, data on the usual hours worked per week illustrate how the prevalence of long and short working hours differs across countries and the sexes.
March 2014 - Boys continue to outperform girls in mathematics by the equivalent of around three months of school, that is an average of 11 score points in the PISA assessment. Across OECD countries 15% of boys but only 11% of girls achieve at the highest levels of proficiency in mathematics. By contrast, girls outperform boys in reading in all countries by an average of 38 score points (across OECD countries) - the equivalent of one year of school.
March 2014 - In many OECD countries, women’s representation is much higher in public sector than in private sector employment. In 2010, women accounted for less than 45% of workers in the total labour force but for 57% of public sector employees in OECD countries.
March 2014 - The third Millennium Development Goal (MDG 3) – to promote gender equality and empower women – has been a catalyst in galvanising new resources for gender equality and women’s rights. Bi-lateral donors’ aid in support of gender equality has tripled since the MDGs from USD 8 billion in 2002 to USD 24 billion in 2012. Most of this aid went to education and health.
March 2014 - Reconciling work and family commitments is a challenge in every country, but particularly for Japanese men and women. Much more so than in most other OECD countries, men and women have to choose between babies and bosses: men choose bosses, women less so, but on the whole there are very few babies and there is too little female employment. These shortcomings are increasingly coming to the fore and will have to be addressed.
© OECD Observer
March 2013 - Fewer women than men become entrepreneurs. In 2012, only 18% of women in the OECD (and 32% of men) have ever started or are taking steps to establish a business (See the chart below). There are even fewer women among business owners with paid employees.
March 2013 - The economic crisis has affected men and women differently in the job market. On average in the OECD, female employment rates have held up at 57%, while male employment rates fell from 75.7% in the first quarter of 2007 to 73% in the third quarter of 2012, the gender employment gap got smaller, but not in the way we would have liked.
March 2013 - In reading, 15-year-old girls outperform 15-year-old boys (by the equivalent of roughly one year of school), while in mathematics boys outperform girls (though by a narrower margin, the equivalent of less than half a year of school); in science there is instead little difference between boys’ and girls’ performance. Yet dig a little deeper and a more nuanced picture emerges.
March 2012 - Women’s contribution to technological progress is substantial and increasing in all countries. But are countries taking full advantage of women's innovative ideas? Do women with good ideas manage to turn them into marketable products?
March 2012 - Greater gender diversity in companies’ boardrooms can lead to better management. However, we are still far from a consensus on the best way to improve women’s representation on boards.
March 2012 - Informal employment is widespread throughout the developing world where it concerns over half to three-quarters of non-agricultural employment. A recent data collection carried out by ILO and Women in Informal Employment Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) provides evidence that women are more likely than men to work in the informal economy.