As long as women do not have equal economic rights (including housing, land and property rights) and as long as access to the labour market, financial services and social protection remains unequal, women will not be free to decide over their own lives. They will struggle to engage in politics, will remain at greater risk of gender-based violence and exploitation, and will be less likely to assume leadership roles that would allow them to contribute to community-building and peacebuilding efforts.
Women’s economic situation today
In almost all countries around the world, women are at a severe economic disadvantage to men.
Much of this work carried out by women is unpaid work at home. Women tend to spend around 2.5 times more time on unpaid care and domestic work than men. They also spend much more time taking care of children and elderly relatives.
The global labor force participation rate for women is just over 50% compared to 80% for men. In some regions the gap is even bigger. Women are less likely to work in formal employment and have fewer opportunities for business expansion or career progression.
When women do enter the labour market, they are often paid less, valued less and left with little protection from discrimination, harassment and abuse. Globally, the gender wage gap is estimated to be 23%, which means that women earn 77% of what men earn. Although, these figures understate the real extent of gender pay gaps, particularly in developing countries where informal self-employment is prevalent.
Unequal laws and institutions make matters even worse. In some countries, for example, women are not allowed to own land or inherit property.
As a result, many women across the world are economically dependent on others and live in poverty.