Wed, 02 Dec 2020

UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- The global gender gap in labor force participation, which has narrowed only marginally over the past 25 years, was reported at 27 percentage points as of 2020, a UN report published Tuesday showed.

In 2020, worldwide, more men (74 percent) than women (47 percent) participated in the labor force, according to the World's Women 2020: Trends and Statistics, which compiled 100 data stories that provide a snapshot of the state of gender equality worldwide.

Across regions in 2019, the gender gap in labor force participation was the largest in Southern Asia (54 percentage points), Northern Africa (47 percentage points) and Western Asia (47 percentage points), where women's labor participation rates were below 30 percent, according to the report.

The gender gap in labor force participation was relatively narrow in sub-Saharan Africa and in developed regions, although for different reasons: in sub-Saharan Africa, economic necessity, brought about by poverty, pressures many women into seeking employment, whereas women in the labor force in developed countries enjoy educational levels equal to those of men and social norms that encourage their participation in paid work, the report said.

Across all stages of the life cycle, men's labor force participation rates were higher than women's in all working-age groups, including youth and older persons. The largest gender gap in labor force participation was observed in the prime working age (25-54). That gap, which has remained relatively stable since 1995, was reported at 32 percentage points as of 2020.

Depending on household type, the proportion of women actively engaged in the labor market varied greatly while that of men remained unchanged: 82 percent of women in prime working age in one-person households participated in the labor force, compared to 64 percent of women in couple-only households and 48 percent of women in couple households with children.

Produced by the Statistics Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the World's Women report has been produced every five years since 1990 and provides the latest data on the state of gender equality worldwide.

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