Arab world sees second highest fall in women employment rates: report

Arab world sees second highest fall in women employment rates: report
Statistics show women's employment declined by 4.1 per cent in the region, whilst men’s declined by 1.8 per cent.
2 min read
21 July, 2021
It is hoped 2021 will be better for women employment in the region [Getty]

Arab states saw the second-highest drop in the number of employed women globally during the Covid-19 pandemic, a report released by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has revealed.

Female employment in the Arab world dropped by 4.1 percent, while male employment fell by 1.8 percent between 2019 and 2020.

The report also stated that female employment rates should increase by 5.6 percent from 2020 to 2021, "reflecting more targeted policy actions to promote women’s participation in employment".

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There are still huge disparities in the numbers of men and women in work in the Arab world.

The ILO estimated that the female employment-to-population ratio in Arab states stands at 14.3 percent, compared to 70.8 percent for men.

The ILO put the low rate of female participation in the workforce down to "limited quantity and quality of jobs generated, traditional expectations of women’s role in society and recurrent political instability".

The labour organisation said the pandemic has only intensified gender inequality worldwide.

A new ILO policy brief found that 13 million fewer women will be in employment this year compared to 2019, while men's levels "will have recovered to 2019 levels" by the end of 2021.

Only 43.2 percent of working-age women are in work this year, compared to nearly 67 percent of working-age men.

The report said this trend was due to women's "over-representation in the hardest-hit sectors" including the food and manufacturing sectors.

As a result, the ILO has proposed that gender equality should be placed at the core of economic recovery efforts and "gender-responsive strategies should be adopted".