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Unemployment among women to rise

BANGKOK, 6 March 2009: The global economic crisis is expected to increase the number of unemployed women by up to 22 million this year, the International Labour Office (ILO) said in its latest report.

The ILO, in its annual Global Employment Trends (GET) for Women report released today, said the global economic crisis would make decent work for women increasingly more difficult.

ILO bureau for gender equality director Jane Hodges said women’s lower employment rates, weaker control over property and resources, concentration in informal and vulnerable forms of employment, and reduced social protection, all placed women in weaker positions than men to weather crises.

The GET report indicates that of the three billion people employed around the world in 2008, 1.2 billion or 40.4% were women.

In 2009, the global unemployment rate for women could reach 7.4%, compared with 7.0% for men, it noted.

The report said the gender impact of the economic crisis in terms of unemployment rates is expected to be more detrimental for females than for males in most regions, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean.

It added that the only regions where unemployment rates were expected to be less detrimental for women are East Asia, the developed economies, and the non-EU South Eastern Europe countries which had narrower gender gaps in terms of job opportunities prior to the current economic crisis.

The labour market projections for 2009 also show a global deterioration for both women and men.

The ILO projected that the global unemployment rate could reach between 6.3% and 7.1%, with a corresponding female unemployment rate ranging from 6.5% to 7.4%, compared with 6.1% to 7% for men.

This would result in an increase of between 24 million and 52 million people unemployed worldwide, of which 10 million to 22 million would be women.

At the same time, the ILO also projected that the global vulnerable employment rate would range from 50.5% to 54.7% for women in 2009, and 47.2% to 51.8% for men. This indicated that while the burden of vulnerability was still greater for women, the crisis was also pushing more men into vulnerable employment.

In a statement issued for International Women’s Day which falls on 8 March, ILO director-general Juan Somavia said that in times of economic upheaval, women often experience the negative consequences more rapidly, and are slower to enjoy the benefits of recovery. — Bernama


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