Barriers must be broken

Gender equality in education, employment and entrepreneurship would create new sources of economic growth, says the OECD.

The 2014 theme for International Women’s Day is: “Equality for women is progress for all”.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has adopted gender equality and women’s empowerment as a priority.

OECD uses its wealth of information on a broad range of topics to help governments foster prosperity and fight poverty through economic growth and financial stability.

Since 1961 OECD has used data to help illuminate a path away from poverty toward prosperity. Sort of like what Statistics Canada used to be capable of doing.

The OECD Gender Portal is an online source of data and analysis on employment, education and entrepreneurship  – see www.oecd.org/gender

Recent OECD data comparing how people use their time that highlights striking differences between countries and particularly between men and women.

There is still a huge gender gap in unpaid work, clearly showing that men are still struggling to lift much more than a finger from time to time in some countries. Unpaid work being defined as such tasks as housework or shopping.

Despite progress in education and efforts by some governments to support women’s development, women still face numerous challenges: women labour force participation is the lowest in the world at 24 per cent, women unemployment is the highest worldwide at 18 per cent, women entrepreneurship lags far behind men’s, and women have difficulty accessing high-level management positions.

In 2010, the OECD launched its OECD Gender Initiative to examine existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment and entrepreneurship (the “three Es”).

The OECD position is that breaking down barriers to gender equality in education, employment and entrepreneurship would create new sources of economic growth; something that is demographically essential in many countries around the world.