International framework

With the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2015), specifically SDG 8 and SDG 10, the international community has committed to achieving full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men and equal pay for work of equal value, protecting labour rights, promoting safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants and migrants in precarious employment, and adopting appropriate policies, especially fiscal, wage and social protection policies.1

In the Leaders' Declaration of Elmau Summit (2015) the G7 countries committed to supporting partners in developing countries and in their own countries to eliminate discrimination, sexual harassment and violence against women and girls and overcome other cultural, social, economic and legal barriers to women's economic participation. The G7 countries have also pledged to increase the number of women and girls technically and vocationally educated and trained in developing countries through G7 measures by one third. The G7 nations also support the UN principles of empowering women in business (Women's Empowerment Principles – WEP) and call on companies worldwide to apply these principles in their in work. 2

Gender pay gap

The gender pay gap is the difference in earnings between women and men for work of equal value. It is expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings.3

Worldwide women get paid less for work of equal value.

Globally the Gender pay gap is estimated to be 23% which means that women earn only 77% of men’s wages. These numbers vary around the globe with women earning only 30% of men’s wages in some African countries and 90% in some developed countries.4

Labour force participation

Labour force participation rate (% of population female/male age 15+, by region)5


Time spent on housework and care work

On average women spend around 4.5 hours a day on unpaid work while men dedicate less than two hours a day on housework and care.6

Informal labour force

In developing countries, the informal sector comprises between half and three quarters of all non-agricultural employment. Women are overrepresented in the informal sector and are thus subject to poor employment conditions.7

More than half of employed women are in vulnerable employment, i.e without formal work arrangements8 globally.9 The gap is especially large in Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East.

Vulnerable employment shares by sex and region:10


Gender differences in law

Women’s legal status in general has improved worldwide in the past 50 years. Nevertheless, there are still many countries in which women’s economic opportunities are restricted by discriminatory laws like barring them from certain types of jobs, limited access to financial and productive resources and restricted capacity to make legal choices.11

100 of 173 analysed economies restrict non-pregnant and non-nursing women from pursuing the same economic activities as men; some directly prohibit women from holding particular jobs.
While the majority of economies mandate maternity leave, only 53 of 173 economies have any form of parental leave.
In 16 of 173 economies personal income tax provisions directly favor men.12
  1. UN General Assembly A/RES/70/1 (2015): “Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.
  2. G7 (2015): Leader’s Declaration G7 Summit.; p. 19-20
  3. OECD: “Gender wage gap“.
  4. ILO (2016): Women at work.; p. 28
  5. World Bank Data (2015): (Tabellen liegen heruntergeladen vor, Stand 02.04.2015)
  6. UN Statistics Division. The World’s Women 2015 (2015):
  7. ILO:
  8. Vulnerable employment means that workers have no formal work arrangements and lack social security.
  9. ILO (2016): Women at work.; p. 28
  10. ILO (2014): “Global Employment Trends 2014”.
  11. World Bank (2015): “Women, Business and the Law”: ; p.8.
  12. World Bank (2015): “Women, Business and the Law”; p.14-16