Improving women’s economic opportunities is key to poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth. Although women have entered in large numbers into the labor force and increased their income, they still face many constraints and limitations. Often women work in low paid jobs and precarious conditions with no social security. Usually, these positions are first at risk in times of economic crisis. The pay gap between men and women remains high in all countries, both in formal and informal employment.
A critical factor for women’s economic empowerment is the burden of unpaid care and household work. The bulk of unpaid care work is performed by women. The uneven distribution between men and women is strongly influenced by social norms and the gendered division of labor. In poor and rural areas women spend particular long hours for water and fuel fetching, and cooking. These hours are not available for education, economic activities or politics. Questions of unpaid care work thus need to be analyzed and measures to alleviate or redistribution of the unpaid workload have to be integrated in all economic development programs.
Enhancing women’s economic opportunities is one of the three pillars of the Swiss Position on Gender Equality in the post-2015 agenda. It includes promoting women’s participation in formal employment as well as supporting women’s access to improved value chains, markets and support services in private sector development. Investing in business skills development and market-oriented vocational training schemes are important conditions to facilitate access to employment and income.
Under Gender and Employment SDC focuses on the following topics:
and publications on gender in employment and income you can find here.