[Excerpt] In 2007, 1.2 billion women around the world worked, almost 200 million or 18.4 per cent more than ten years ago. But, the number of unemployed women also grew from 70.2 to 81.6 million over the same period and in 2007, women at the global level still had a higher likelihood of being unemployed than men. The female unemployment rate stood at 6.4 per cent compared to the male rate of 5.7 per cent. As for women who do find work, they are often confined to work in the less productive sectors of economies and in status groups that carry higher economic risk and a lesser likelihood of meeting the characteristics that define decent work, including access to social protection, basic rights and a voice at work. Also, as a result of the type of work where women can find employment (in terms of both sector and status), they often earn less than men.
But, is it all bad news concerning female labour market trends? Certainly not, there are some positive trends as well: education levels for women around the world continue to increase and gender gaps for certain labour market indicators are decreasing in many regions. To find which regions are making progress in the economic integration of women and in offering them an equal chance at attaining decent work, this year’s Global Employment Trends for Women is organized according to nine regional trends analyses. The report shows clearly that most regions are making progress in increasing the number of women in decent employment, but that full gender equality in terms of labour market access and conditions of employment has not yet been attained.