Men still outnumber women in workplaces-A A +A
Thursday, March 21, 2013
WOMEN leaders observed that social structure and labor demand continue to affect women’s employment, limiting their contribution to economic development.
Speaking at the 27th Confederation of Asia Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) Conference, Zuhal Mansfield of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey-Women Entrepreneurs Board pointed out that society’s definition of women as secondary to men imposes a serious threat for this marginalized sector in achieving their full potential as significant economic actors.
“There is an urgent need to address a traditional misinterpretation that men are expected to earn a living for the family while women are to do housework and being unemployed is psychologically less adverse for the latter,” Mansfield challenged the delegates.
She elaborated that this impression creates a lesser demand for women in the labor force, with employers fearing women might treat their professions as secondary priority due to obligations at home.
At the same forum, International Alliance for Women vice president Diane Tompson tackled the challenge confronting governments across the world regarding women leaving the workforce after having a family or children.
She opined that the difficulty in attracting women back to the workplace is triggered because governments don’t make it easy for women to return due to a lack of child care facilities and reduction of status at work.
“Women don’t want to be involved in a work environment that discriminates,” she stressed.
Tompson recommended that governments push for legislations to protect women and that women leaders should be encouraged to mentor and promote other women to excel in their careers.
The World Bank (WB) acknowledged the restricted access of women to economic opportunities caused by gender inequality and cautioned that under-investing in women could further limit poverty reduction and a nation’s development.
WB data revealed that women are responsible for 60 to 80 percent of all house and care work. Globally, four out of 10 workers are women, accounting for 58 and 50 percent of unpaid and informal employment, respectively.
To address the scarcity of women employment, Mansfield suggested that government and private sector revisit women education, empowerment and entrepreneurial support as areas which, if attended, would encourage women to realize the extent of their value and competence.
She proposed reinventing alternative models for women entrepreneurship such as cooperatives and consultancy schemes and also carrying out home-based and part-time jobs.
Figures from Philippines’ Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics released January this year noted men’s domination in the labor force through the years, stating that from 1995 to 2011, women’s contribution in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector was consistently below 50 percent with the highest share in 2006 and 2010 at 42 percent and the lowest in 1996 at 39 percent.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 22, 2013.