Inclusive maternity and paternity leave, equal wages, and better opportunities are the demands sought on International Women’s Day

The path toward a more equitable job market encompasses the right to be protected against discrimination, violence and harassment; equality of opportunity and the right to decent wages. Based on the ILO report entitled ‘A Quantum Leap for Gender Equality’, 21.2% of young people are not working, receiving an education or training (NEETs), and 69.1% of this group are women. However, over the past 27 years, the employment gap between men and women narrowed by 2%.

The ILO passed the first agreements on women and employment in 1919. One century later, women are a force in the labour market, overcoming barriers that would have been deemed impossible in the past. Although significant progress has been made regarding the female population, much remains to be done.

Advances in technology will also affect job opportunities and job quality for women. 73% of the tasks in the hotel sector and the hospitality business, which employ a large percentage of women, are susceptible to automation. On the other hand, education, health and social work, which are considerably feminised sectors, show a lower risk of automation due to the personal interaction component they entail.

The Wage Gap

The gender wage gap remains at 20% on average around the world. The wage differences between men and women are due largely to discrimination. Even though some women do the same jobs as men, their salaries are lower, despite their level of education being the same or higher.

In recent years, there has been an important discussion about the wage gap in businesses; however, the focus should be the role of women within businesses. Only 27.1% of management positions or leaders are women. El report details that only 1 out of every 10 women wants to become the CEO of a company compared to 26% of men who desire that position.

Inclusive Maternity and Paternity Leave

An increasing number of countries have extended maternity leave, and some have taken steps to cater for women working in the informal economy. Paternity and parental leave policies are also a significant component to promote positions held by women in the labour market.

In that sense, the Spanish Government is preparing a list of measures to promote gender equality. On 1 April, paternity leave will be extended from 5 to 8 weeks. And by 2020, said leave will be twelve weeks and, finally, by 2021, it will reach sixteen weeks.

This project, which has been in the making for five years, also refers to violence and harassment in the workplace. To this end, collective agreements and workplace measures will be instrumental in eliminating gender-based violence.