Policy Lessons on Facilitating Labor Markets

Significant gender gaps in labor force participation persist around the world. When women do work, they are much more likely than men to engage in vulnerable employment with lower earnings and worse working conditions. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered larger losses in employment for women than for men across the globe. Several factors constrain women’s labor force participation and employment outcomes. On the supply side, time and mobility constraints and differences in endowments (skills, assets, and networks) limit women’s labor force participation and wages. On the demand side, discrimination in hiring and retention, lack of jobs with convenient features (childcare, maternity leave, flexible schedules), and skills mismatch are key constraints. All these are combined with contextual factors, including social and cultural norms, that restrict women’s labor force participation. The GIL Federation is generating rigorous evidence around the world to understand what works, and what does not, in supporting women’s labor market participation. This note presents evidence on seven key findings.