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ILO:Window of opportunity for Asia to improve gender equality at work
Window of opportunity for Asia to improve gender equality at work
Asian countries have a window of opportunity to tackle gender inequality in their labour markets and support sustainable crisis recovery, according to a new report prepared jointly by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The report, Women and Labour Markets in Asia: Rebalancing for Gender Equality, says that although Asia is helping to lead the global economy, recovery of the labour market from the recent global economic and financial crisis has not kept pace. In some developing countries, particularly in East Asia, job growth is back, but the quality of jobs being created is a major concern. In particular, 45 per cent of the vast productive potential of Asian women remains untapped, compared to just 19 per cent for Asian men.
Although the region’s economic growth of 6.2 per cent in 2000-2007 greatly exceeded the global average of 4.2 per cent, average growth in women’s employment was just 1.7 per cent- below the world average of 2 per cent.
The report points out that poor quality jobs are a greater labour market challenge for women than unemployment. A large proportion of women in Asia toils in low-productivity, vulnerable and low-paid informal work. In addition, female youth unemployment is high and women remain largely perceived as a buffer workforce or secondary earners next to men.
Suggested policies include support for women entrepreneurs; assisting women working in agriculture to boost productivity; reducing Asia’s over-reliance on the informal sector; promoting equal access to quality education and training; gender-responsive social protection; ensuring equality in representation and decision-making; and following a rights-based approach.
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