Women make up more than 50 percent of the world’s population, but contribute only 37 percent of the world’s GDP and represent only 39 percent of the workforce. If each country only manages to match the country in its region that has done the best in terms of gender parity at work, estimates that in 2025 the world GDP could increase by 11%. It is wrong, then, to pose the challenge of reducing (or closing) the gender gap in work as an ethical imperative only: governments and businesses must understand that this goal is also profitable.
Women lack decent jobs and adequate work environments, this causes their income to decrease and they do not have access to products and services that are of basic need for their families apart from food, for example, health services such as dentist in Mexico or even surgical operations.
One of the key factors to address to close or reduce the gap concerns the horizontal segmentation of labor markets. This translates into the existence of sectors integrated mainly by women, where low quality occupations are common.
At a global level, the sectors where women are disproportionately represented are, unfortunately, sectors of lower productivity, such as agriculture. Also, in the most productive sectors, such as commercial services, they are underrepresented. In Mexico, 86.5% of the people who perform domestic work, 74% of people who do the teaching work and 71% who perform social services and health are women. On the other hand only 6.6% of those who perform construction work, 7.2% of those who perform mining work and 7.7% of those who do fishing work are.
This is compounded by another phenomenon of segmentation, but now vertical: women in general occupy middle or low positions in the hierarchy and their presence in management positions is scarce. In our country only 21% of positions with relevant decision making are occupied by women (usually in the public sector).
Likewise, our country has the sad mark of appearing in the ranking equal salaries of men and women (with equivalent jobs) in position 131 of 145. The female hourly wage is lower than the male by 17.4%, a gap that increases with age, and is especially evident in women with postgraduate and master’s degrees (32.1%).
The above data are not auspicious, and will not be corrected only through legislative initiatives. It is important that civil society commits to work towards change, that companies re-evaluate their recruitment and promotion policies and that schools take note and become drivers of appropriate work trajectories for their students.
For this, it is key that all workers, employers, actors of the political world, state and private, are convinced that the call is not only to be “in solidarity” with women, but to become part of a strategy of rational, efficient and effective development.