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close this book Development in practice: Toward Gender Equality
close this folder Chapter two
View the document Gender Inequalities Hamper Growth
View the document Household and Intrahousehold Resource Allocation
View the document Linkages between Education Health, and Nutritious
View the document Household and Labor Market Linkages
View the document Formal Sector Employment
View the document Informal Sector
View the document Access to Financial Markets
View the document Access to Lund and Property
View the document Access to Extension Services
View the document Conclusion

Formal Sector Employment

Unpaid work and family responsibilities. as well as lack of investment in women's education. are strongly associated with women's relatively low rates of participation and their limited earnings in formal sector labor. Women's participation rates usually dip in the childbearing years, and earnings tend to decline following an interruption in employment. Younger on average, work more hours than older women, and married women with young children tend to work less than childless women and mothers of grown children. The correlation of marriage and childbearing with labor market outcomes can be seen even in industrial countries, where wage differences between married women and men are larger than those between single women and men Similarly, in some developing countries relative earnings decline with age (table 2.2) Children are not the only treason for interruptions in women's labor force participation; caring for ill or aged family members is often a woman’s responsibility. A study from Hungary estimates that half of all absenteeism by women workers is the direct result of the need to care for sick relatives (Einhorn 1993).

In Countries, Single Women Earn More Than Married Women and Younger Women More Than Older Women.

Table 2.2 female-male earnings (adjusted for hours worked) by marital status and age (percent)

Country

Female-male

Earnings ratio

By marital status

Married

Single

Australia

69

91

Austria

66

97

Germany

57

103

Norway

72

92

Sweden

72

94

Switzerland

58

94

United Kingdom

60

95

United States

59

96

Age

A 25

B 45

Brazil

75

63

Colombia

94

70

Indonesia

81

60

Malaysia

82

61

Venezuela

92

70

Sources: Blau and Kahn 1992 Sedlacek Gutierrez. and Mohindra 1993

Thus. women s labor market outcomes can be substantially poorer than those of men because women's employment opportunities are constrained by social arrangements at the family or household level. These social demands are reinforced by legal conventions. Within the labor market itself, social or employer discrimination can affect women and men differently. and these differences are reflected in the resource allocation decisions taken within the household. Although wage discrimination is illegal in many countries, employers may respond to an increase in the supply of workers by segregating jobs by gender or offering less training to women who they perceive as being temporarily attached to the labor force (even if in fact most women never drop out). For example, women in the former Soviet Union are fairly well educated and have high labor force participation. but they are concentrated in occupations requiring fewer skills and less vocational training than men, and, on average. they earn less than men (Fong 1993).

Female Wages Are Lower than Male Wages, but This Is Changing.

Table 2.3 female-male earnings ratio over time Female-male earning 1 ratio (percent)

Country

First observation

Second observation

A v Average annual percentage change

Brazil

50.2

(1981)

51.6

(1990)

0.7

Colombia

67.2

(1984)

70 2

(1990)

0.7

Côte d'Ivoire

75.7

(1985)

81.4

(1988)

2.4

Indonesia

55.6

(1986)

60.0

(1997)

1.3

Philippines

70.9

(1978)

80.0

(1988)

1.2

Thailand

73.5

(1980)

79.8

(1990)

0.8

Note: Monthly earnings for Indonesia and Thailand rural and urban: for all others urban only

Source: Tzanntors 1995

Women's earnings relative to men's tend to increase over time. A study of six developing countries shows that female earnings relative to male earnings increased by 1 percent a year in the 1980s (table 2.3). There were two reasons for this increase: over the years women entered higher-paying sectors. and within sectors, their pay increased in relation to that of men. This gain would have been even greater had it not been for the effect on wages of increased female participation in the labor force. However, the most visible dimension of gender inequality in the formal labor sector remains the wage difference between men and women. Women's wages are. on average lower those of men by about 30 to 40 percent.

Social or employer discrimination can affect women and men difference and these difference are reflected i/? the resource allocation decisions taken within the household

A recent study of the gender wage gap in Russia shows that after controlling for education differences, the ratio of women's to men's average hourly earnings stands at just over 71 percent: it has remained at that level since the 1960s. Part of the reason for women s lower hourly earnings in Russia and many other countries lies in patterns of occupational segmentation by ,gender. Some analysts argue that women-who do most of the household work in Russian households and also have high participation in the formal labor market cope with the burdens imposed on them by taking less demanding work and devoting less time to advancing their careers (Newell and Reilly 1994).