How Gender Inequality Affects Women’s Economic Well-Being
In a world where the population is approaching half, tackling gender inequality is an urgent global issue. While the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were introduced in 2015, progress has been modest. However, the pandemic that caused the COVID-19 epidemic and accelerating automation trends have both negatively affected gender equality. Even though the goal of achieving gender equality by 2030 was set, gender gaps continue to exist around the world. Despite these challenges, recent studies indicate that equalizing employment among men and women could reduce gender inequality.
The worst effects of gender inequality can be found among women. A recent study revealed that restricting religious freedom has negative consequences for women’s economic participation and well-being. As a result, it is critical to address this issue as soon as possible. Religious freedom and religious intolerance can contribute to gender inequality. However, the World Economic Forum has warned against restricting religious freedom, as this could lead to worsening the situation. Further, studies conducted by Brigham Young University and Georgetown University found a correlation between religious intolerance and women’s participation in the economy.
Societal mindsets also have an impact on gender inequality. A culture’s mindset determines what a man or woman is worth. For example, if an African woman was deemed labor, a white man would be considered a domestic worker. While laws and structural changes are critical, people often ignore other forms of gender inequality, which can slow down progress and prevent meaningful change. In other words, the mindsets of society can contribute to the persistent gender gap.
While the gender pay gap has continued to close, it remains stubborn. In addition, it has slowed in recent decades. In fact, the percentage of women to men at the top of the pay scale has stagnated over the past 25 years. And men in the bottom half of the income distribution have seen a gradual decline in their earnings. The bottom of the income distribution has increased by more than a decade. And while the top half of the income distribution has slowed in the past two decades, women continue to earn less than men in a country that has a history of discrimination.
Women’s time spent in unpaid work is disproportionately higher than that of men. They spend nearly four times as much time as men in unpaid work. According to OECD data, women spend 264 minutes per day performing unpaid work while men spend just 136 minutes. In paid work, women are more productive. In fact, they spend about four and a half hours each day doing paid work. This is a huge cost for the equity between men and women.
The Global Gender Inequality Index (GII) measures the degree of gender inequality in many countries. It takes into account three dimensions of gender-based disadvantage, including education, maternal health and the labour market. A low GII value means that there is less gender-based inequality than what the Index would indicate. But, there is a significant amount of variation across countries and dimensions. The Global Gender Inequality Index ranges from 0 to one.