Issue: Time use (unpaid care and domestic work)

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Despite modest improvements in some nations over the past 50 years to close the gender gap in household and unpaid labour, women still spend more time than men on unpaid work and housework in every country with available data. Estimates suggest that women perform 75% of the world’s unpaid work, which some economists suggest could amount to between 10-39% of global GDP if it were assigned a monetary value.

The World Bank’s Women, Business, and the Law 2018 report assesses regional and national levels of unpaid work by women, but the data are not disaggregated by care work specifically across all countries. Household-level time-use surveys – which can collect sex-disaggregated data on care for children, the elderly and the sick; collection of fuel and water; household tasks; and paid labour – have been employed successfully by some national governments. For example, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) in Mexico used time-use surveys to value women’s unpaid labour at approximately 20% of GDP in 2012, compared to 6% for men.

Issue: Gender pay gap

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Globally, women earn on average only 60-75% of men’s wages. Gender disparities contributing to the wage gap include the likelihood that women will work in part-time jobs, industry segregation (with women more likely to be wage workers and domestic workers), and women’s over-representation in non-unionized sectors that cannot negotiate wage increases. Many of these factors relate to their burden of care work.

Labour Force Surveys provide crucial data about average hourly earnings of female and male employees, and about the gender wage gap. All EU member states are required to conduct a Labour Force Survey annually and the surveys are carried out in an increasing number of non-EU countries. However, Labour Force Surveys are not carried out in all countries. There tends to be less investment in conducting surveys and making them publicly available in developing nations. One benefit of labour force surveys as a measurement approach is that survey questions and modules can be standardized across countries. The Mind the Gap Initiative, which aims to measure pay gaps among private sector companies, suggests that standardization is among the biggest challenges in measuring the gender pay gap, and that measurement methodology should be open-source, publicly available, and uniform.

Issue: GBV in and around the workplace

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Sexual harassment, discrimination, and gender-based violence (GBV) violate women’s rights and undermine their equal participation in the labour force. One study found that such abuses in the workplace increase financial stress and can alter women’s career trajectories. Yet, 68 countries – at all income levels – have no workplace protections for women, leaving 424 million with no legal recourse when faced with an abusive supervisor or hostile work environment. Industrial Global Union, an organisation representing 50 million workers in 140 countries, finds that women working in industries such as mining, textiles, agriculture and manufacturing are particularly vulnerable to violence in and around their workplaces, and that women cite limited channels to report abuse, fear of losing their jobs and stigmatisation if they report abuse.

The World Bank’s WBL initiative tracks laws that discriminate against women worldwide, including legal frameworks at the national level that address GBV in the workplace. The 2018 report assesses whether there are criminal penalties for sexual harassment in employment and whether there are civil remedies for sexual harassment in employment for each country covered. The World Policy Analysis Center also collects global metrics on dimensions of gender equity in the workplace, including policies and protections against sexual harassment and violence at work in all 193 UN member states.

Issue: Labour rights, including freedom of association and collective bargaining (by sex)

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

When women have access to trade unions, worker organizations, cooperatives and self-help groups they are able to define policy priorities and advance gender equality issues – including on pay and career advancement – in bargaining agendas. UN Women finds that the gender wage gap in the US is 11% for unionized women compared to 22% for those who do not belong to trade unions, and that the wages of women union members in the UK are 30% higher than those of non-unionized women.

The Center for Global Workers’ Rights at Penn State University has recently constructed a new indicator of freedom of association and collective bargaining (FACB) rights with data for 185 ILO member states for 5 years between 2000 and 2015. At present, it is not possible to disaggregate the data by sex or migrant status (as required by SDG indicator 8.8.2). Further disaggregation is technically feasible, but will require additional investment by the ILO.

Issue: Parental leave policies

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Parental leave policies are linked to women’s access to the economy and autonomy over career choices. Gender-neutral paid leave policies are used overwhelmingly by women. For example, while Japan has a 14-week paid leave policy, only 2% of fathers take leave, compared to 83% of mothers. ‘Use it or lose it’ paid paternity leave offers non-transferable paternity leave or a period of leave that includes a portion specifically for fathers. In Quebec, where such policies are in place, the percentage of fathers taking paternity leave rose from about 10% in 2001 to more than 80% in 2010.

The World Policy Analysis Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, collects global metrics on dimensions of paid leave policy, child care and unpaid care work, including if paid leave is available for mothers of infants; if paid annual leave is available to workers; and if paid leave is available for fathers of infants. Its report, Paid Parental Leave: A Detailed Look at Approaches Across OECD Countries, identifies and analyses types and duration of paid leave and wage replacement policies.