Throughout their working lives, women continue to face significant obstacles in gaining access to decent jobs. Only marginal improvements have been achieved since the Fourth World Conference on Women of Beijing in 1995, leaving large gaps to be covered in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the United Nations in 2015. Inequality between women and men persists in global labour markets, in respect of opportunities, treatment and outcomes.
Over the last two decades, women’s significant progress in educational achievements has not translated into a comparable improvement in their position at work. In many regions in the world, in comparison to men, women are more likely to become and remain unemployed, have fewer chances to participate in the labour force and – when they do – often have to accept lower quality jobs. Progress in surmounting these obstacles has been slow and is limited to a few regions across the world. Even in many of those countries where gaps in labour force participation and employment have narrowed and where women are shifting away from contributing family work and moving to the services sector, the quality of women’s jobs remains a matter of concern.
The unequal distribution of unpaid care and household work between women and men and between families and the society is an important determinant of gender inequalities at work.