Share of women in wage employment in the nonagricultural sector (% of total nonagricultural employment)

Definition: Share of women in wage employment in the nonagricultural sector is the share of female workers in wage employment in the nonagricultural sector (industry and services), expressed as a percentage of total employment in the nonagricultural sector. Industry includes mining and quarrying (including oil production), manufacturing, construction, electricity, gas, and water, corresponding to divisions 2-5 (ISIC revision 2) or tabulation categories C-F (ISIC revision 3). Services include wholesale and retail trade and restaurants and hotels; transport, storage, and communications; financing, insurance, real estate, and business services; and community, social, and personal services-corresponding to divisions 6-9 (ISIC revision 2) or tabulation categories G-P (ISIC revision 3).

Description: The map below shows how Share of women in wage employment in the nonagricultural sector (% of total nonagricultural employment) varies by country. The shade of the country corresponds to the magnitude of the indicator. The darker the shade, the higher the value. The country with the highest value in the world is Moldova, with a value of 54.60. The country with the lowest value in the world is Chad, with a value of 5.50.

Source: International Labour Organization, Key Indicators of the Labour Market database.

See also: Country ranking, Time series comparison

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Development Relevance: Data on women in wage employment in the nonagricultural sector show the extent to which women have access to paid employment - which affects their integration into the monetary economy - and indicate the degree to which labor markets are open to women in industry and services - which affects not only equal employment opportunity for women, but also economic efficiency through flexibility of the labor market and the economy's capacity to adapt to changes over time. In many developing countries nonagricultural wage employment accounts for only a small portion of total employment. As a result, the contribution of women to the national economy is underestimated and therefore misrepresented. The indicator is difficult to interpret without additional information on the share of women in total employment, which allows an assessment to be made of whether women are under- or overrepresented in nonagricultural wage employment. The indicator does not reveal differences in the quality of nonagricultural wage employment in terms of earnings, work conditions, or legal and social protection. The indicator also does not reflect whether women reap the economic benefits of such employment. Finally, female employment and the employment share of the agricultural sector for both men and women tend to be underreported. Women's wage work is important for economic growth and the well-being of families. But women often face such obstacles as restricted access to credit markets, capital, land, and training and education; time constraints due to traditional family responsibilities; and labor market bias and discrimination. These obstacles force women to limit their full participation in paid economic activities, to be less productive, and to receive lower wages.

Limitations and Exceptions: There are many differences in how countries define and measure employment status, particularly members of the armed forces, self-employed workers, and unpaid family workers. Where members of the armed forces are included, they are allocated to the service sector, causing that sector to be somewhat overstated relative to the service sector in economies where they are excluded. Where data are obtained from establishment surveys, data cover only employees; thus self-employed and unpaid family workers are excluded. In such cases the employment share of the agricultural sector is severely underreported. Caution should be also used where the data refer only to urban areas, which record little or no agricultural work. Moreover, the age group and area covered could differ by country or change over time within a country. For detailed information, consult the original source. Countries also take different approaches to the treatment of unemployed people. In most countries unemployed people with previous job experience are classified according to their last job. But in some countries the unemployed and people seeking their first job are not classifiable by economic activity. Because of these differences, the size and distribution of employment by economic activity may not be fully comparable across countries. The reference period of a census or survey is another important source of differences: in some countries data refer to people's status on the day of the census or survey or during a specific period before the inquiry date, while in others data are recorded without reference to any period. In developing countries, where the household is often the basic unit of production and all members contribute to output, but some at low intensity or irregularly, the estimated labor force may be much smaller than the numbers actually working.

Statistical Concept and Methodology: Employment is defined as persons above a specified age who performed any work at all, in the reference period, for pay or profit (or pay in kind), or were temporarily absent from a job for such reasons as illness, maternity or parental leave, holiday, training or industrial dispute. Unpaid family workers who work for at least one hour should be included in the count of employment, although many countries use a higher hour limit in their definition.The labor force is the supply of labor available for producing goods and services in an economy. It includes people who are currently employed and people who are unemployed but seeking work as well as first-time job-seekers. Not everyone who works is included, however. Unpaid workers, family workers, and students are often omitted, and some countries do not count members of the armed forces. Labor force size tends to vary during the year as seasonal workers enter and leave. Usually active population is measured in relation to a long reference period such as a year, and the currently active population (labor force) is measured in relation to a short reference period such as one day or one week. Labor force statistics by gender is important to monitor gender disparities in employment patterns. Estimates of women in the labor force and employment are generally lower than those of men and are not comparable internationally, reflecting that demographic, social, legal, and cultural trends and norms determine whether women's activities are regarded as economic.

Aggregation method: Weighted average

Periodicity: Annual

General Comments: Relevance to gender indicator: Women’s share in paid employment in the nonagricultural sector has risen marginally in some regions but remains less than 20 percent in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Women are also clearly segregated in sectors that are generally known to be lower paid. And in the sectors where women dominate, such as health care, women rarely hold upper-level management jobs.