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The OECD's book titled, ‘The Pursuit of Gender Equality: An Uphill Battle,’ assesses progress since OECD's 2012 report on gender equality.

The report presents a "stark call to action", explaining that progress on gender equality “has been slow” and further policy action is necessary to tackle gender gaps in education, employment, entrepreneurship and public life.

4 October 2017: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released a book that finds women in OECD countries typically obtain more schooling than men but are less likely than men to engage in paid work, become entrepreneurs or obtain leadership positions. The report concludes that progress on gender equality “has been slow” and calls for further policy action to tackle gender gaps in education, employment, entrepreneurship and public life.

The book titled, ‘The Pursuit of Gender Equality: An Uphill Battle,’ assesses progress since OECD’s 2012 report on gender equality, which identified violence against women, the gender wage gap and unequal sharing of paid work as the three most important gender equality issues. The book finds that some countries now prioritize these issues and some progress has been made, such as financial incentives for fathers to take parental leave, pay transparency measures to reduce gender wage gaps, women’s increasing labour force participation and more women pursuing science, technology, engineering and manufacturing (STEM) opportunities, though still at lower rates than men.

When women work, they are more likely to work on a part-time basis and earn less, are less likely to advance to management positions and are more likely to experience discrimination than men.

Despite this progress, the report concludes that gender inequalities “persist in all areas of social and economic life and across all countries.” The book finds that women are still less likely to engage in paid work and, when women do work, they are more likely to work on a part-time basis and earn less than men. In addition, they are less likely to advance to management positions and are more likely to experience discrimination than men. According to the OECD, the median female worker earns nearly 15 percent less than her male counterpart. Further, gender gaps increase with age, reflecting the role of parenthood in gender equality.

The book makes both an economic and a social argument for closing the gender gap. For example, it finds that reducing the gender gap in labour force participation by 25% by 2025, as agreed by the Group of 20 (G20) leaders, could add 1 percentage point of growth to projected baseline gross domestic product (GDP) across OECD countries between 2013-25.

The book highlights the role of gender in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and discusses challenges and progress towards SDG 5 (gender equality). The book further addresses a number of gender-related challenges, including the education of girls and women, labour market outcomes, the unequal sharing of unpaid work, violence against women, gender budgeting, gender mainstreaming and migration. The report considers a number of barriers to women’s career paths and mobility, from the timing of women’s careers to the effect of career breaks and childbirth on women’s career trajectories, earnings and pensions. The report concludes each chapter with recommendations and key policy messages for each challenge.

OCED launched the report in advance of the Women’s Forum, which is taking place in Paris, France. Speaking at the launch, OECD Chief of Staff Gabriela Ramos urged countries to do “much more” to reach gender equality goals, saying there is “no reason for women to trail behind men in social, economic, and political outcomes.” She underscored the importance of prioritizing the pursuit of gender equality to achieve sustainable, inclusive growth for all.

The report includes country specific highlights for Australia, Canada, French, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, the UK and the US. [OECD Press Release] [Publication Webpage]

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