The report, titled the ‘Progress of the World’s Women 2015-16’, comes twenty years after the plan of action was earmarked by the Fourth World Conference of Women in Beijing.
Graphic: Nagesh Baitadiya
The number of domestic women workers in India that do unpaid work outnumbers the number of male domestic workers by seven times, released a UN report. Around the world, of the 53 million domestic workers, 83% are women, revealed the report.The report, titled the ‘Progress of the World’s Women 2015-16’, comes twenty years after the plan of action was earmarked by the Fourth World Conference of Women in Beijing. “We need to enable shifts both great and small in social norms, so that men can take on care work and engage in other areas that foster and demonstrate altered attitudes of responsibility,” writes Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, under-secretary general and executive director at UN Women.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report reveals that between 1990 and 2013, the percentage of women participation in the workforce in Southeast Asia dipped from 35% to 30%. Globally, it fell from 52% to 50%. Similarly, the wage gap between men and women was considerable wide in Southeast Asia. While globally, women earned 24% lesser than men, in Southeast Asia the gap was the widest at 33%. Most women around the world (over 63%) were engaged in clerical and support jobs, while 55% are engaged in sales positions. Only 33% of women held managerial positions.The report also revealed that around 39% of women workers around the world were responsible for the child care of their children under the age of six. “Very few employed women in developing countries have access to organised childcare or nurseries,” said the report. The report also added that in India, 60% of women, compared to 30% of men, have no valuable assets in their name.It also listed a host of suggestions to narrow the wage gap. “Ensuring a conducive legal framework for women’s organising, including measures to protect space for civil society advocacy on women’s rights, and ensuring the right to form and join trade unions,” read a suggestion. “Substantially increasing investments in public services, including health, water and sanitation and care services, and ensuring their affordability by replacing user fees with collective forms of financing through, for example, social security or general taxation,” read another.Prominent economist Jayati Ghosh, who was part of the expert advisory panel overseeing the study, said that standalone goals do not work. “India needs to have an integrated policy. It does not help when officials say that these many girl children will be sent to school; they need to ensure a safe environment for children where teachers are gender-sensitive. It is well-known that gender disparity is a huge problem in India; the schemes alone do not help,” said Ghosh. “Some economists say that there should be a flexible labour market with no preferences so that there are more foreign investments. That needs serious thinking on its implications on working women.”