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[Excerpt] During the 1980s and 1990s women’s participation in labour markets worldwide grew substantially. This gave rise to expectations that increased opportunities and economic autonomy for women would bring greater gender equality. To help determine the extent to which such hopes are being realized, it is necessary to analyse women’s labour market trends in more detail. To this end, the Global Employment Trends for Women Brief 2007 focuses on whether the tendency toward increased participation has continued more recently and whether women have found enough decent and productive jobs to really enable them to use their potential in the labour market and achieve economic independence.

The approach is based on updates and analysis of a number of major labour market indicators. These include: labour force participation; unemployment; sector and status of employment; wages/earnings; and education and skills. Taken together, they show whether women who want to work actually do so, whether women find it harder to get a job than men, differences in the type of work done by women and men and equality of treatment in areas ranging from pay to education and training.