Table of Contents

  • Despite some progress, gender inequality remains a reality in every OECD country, with women and girls still facing disadvantages and barriers in most spheres of social and economic life. While addressing gender inequalities is a moral imperative, prevailing gender gaps in education, employment, entrepreneurship, and public life also lead to missed opportunities for inclusive job creation, growth, and innovation, ultimately affecting the prosperity of the entire economy.

  • Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are universal goals, as set out in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the 1995 Beijing Declaration, the Platform for Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the OECD Recommendations on Gender Equality in Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship and Public Life.

  • This chapter presents an overview of persisting gender gaps across OECD countries in and beyond education, employment, entrepreneurship, public life; it also covers additional policy areas such as energy and nuclear energy, environment, foreign direct investment and transport, among others. The chapter also discusses how recent crises are threatening progress in gender equality. It concludes with an overview of key policies adopted across OECD countries to advance in closing the existing gaps in gender equality.

  • This chapter starts by illustrating the role of the Sustainable Development Goals as a universal agenda for gender equality globally. Focusing on discriminatory social institutions, it then shows that gender equality is not being promoted enough to ensure sustainable progress and provides examples of how such discriminatory social institutions are preventing gender equality in education, access to assets and resources, as well as women’s rights and political representation. It then illustrates actions by OECD DAC members, the multilateral development system as well as private philanthropies and foundations to advance gender equality and provides reflections on further actions needed.

  • This chapter discusses how governments in OECD countries have shown commitment to improving gender equality by integrating gender considerations in key government documents and legal frameworks. It then gives an overview of institutional arrangements for gender mainstreaming across OECD countries, highlighting recent trends and related challenges. The chapter also provides details on governments’ use of strategic planning for gender equality purposes in recent years, including in support of an inclusive economic recovery in the aftermath of the COVID‑19 pandemic.

  • This chapter provides an overview of recent developments in the application of gender analysis in policy making across the OECD, while illustrating current practices and the main challenges in the collection and use of gender-sensitive data and evidence. It also explores how OECD countries are adopting a gender-sensitive perspective in areas such as regulations, budgets, infrastructure and procurement to improve gender equality as well as using these tools strategically to redress structural inequalities and promote more gender-equal and inclusive societies, including by anticipating and monitoring their gender-specific impacts.

  • This chapter presents the interlinkages between gender and environmental policies, highlighting how a coherent approach could lead to mutually reinforcing gender equality and environmental goals and policies. It describes the existing gaps in policy and decision making, including with respect to gender-sensitive data. It concludes by presenting an integrated approach to gender equality and environmental sustainability, which covers issues of governance and sustainable financing.

  • This chapter starts by showing that tackling gender-based violence (GBV) requires an effective effort by all relevant actors in society. It then focuses on the need for well-functioning political and legal systems and structures to adequately address GBV. The chapter presents policy reflections, as well as examples of efforts undertaken by countries in the OECD and beyond, to design well-functioning systems that are rooted in a strategic vision and involve a holistic approach towards both protection and prevention. It also shows that prevention of and protection from GBV requires good data and evidence for the design, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes.

  • This chapter starts by showing the importance of integrating social service delivery to help people who are experiencing violence. It provides examples of integrated delivery in healthcare, housing, and police services. The chapter then focuses on access to justice and accountability in preventing and responding to gender-based violence, acknowledging existing barriers as well as countries’ efforts to advance in this field. It concludes with considerations related to the need to promote gender-equitable norms of masculinities through policy to end gender-based violence.

  • This chapter starts by presenting an overview of the gender gaps in educational attainment in tertiary education. It then analyses existing gender gaps in reading, science and mathematics at school, and focuses on how gender differences in performance vary by students’ proficiency level. It concludes with reflections on policy responses that are needed to address gender gaps in school performance.

  • This chapter starts with an analysis of gender differences in career choices and expectations, focusing on men’s and women’s field of study choices at the tertiary education level. It then examines the issue of gender stereotypes as a key reason for gender differences in educational choices and provides examples of policy measures adopted to fight gender stereotypes in education. The chapter then analyses the issues of the feminisation of the teaching profession and concludes with policy messages on how to address gender gaps in career choices.

  • This chapter starts by discussing gender differences in early school leaving, showing that boys are more at risk of early school leaving than girls. This gap might be related to gender differences in identification and engagement with school. Using data on disengaged behaviour in the OECD PISA 2018 test (leaving questions blank or fast-guessing), the chapter provides evidence that boys tend indeed to put less effort into academic work than girls. The analysis shows that low effort on the PISA test is associated with at-risk behaviours, such as being late or skipping classes, and with the level of education students will attain. The chapter concludes with reflections on policies and strategies to raise boys’ engagement at school.

  • This chapter starts with an analysis of gender gaps in VET, focusing on gender differences in terms of participation in VET and field-of-study choice. It also provides examples of interventions to encourage all students to pursue studies in the field that interests them. It then focuses on gender differences in VET students’ participation in apprenticeship training. The chapter then analyses gender differences in adult learning participation and presents policies approaches to support adult learning.

  • This chapter provides an analysis of gender differences in financial literacy and resilience, mainly using results from the OECD/INFE 2020 International Survey of Adult Financial Literacy. It then focuses on financial education interventions as a key tool to address such gaps. The chapter provides examples of such interventions, from programmes addressing women at large to interventions targeting specific groups, such as financially vulnerable, younger, older or working women. After an overview of policy examples, the chapter concludes with some policy considerations.

  • This chapter reviews women’s employment across the OECD. It starts with a discussion of trends in gender employment gaps over the past two decades. It then analyses the characteristics of the jobs that women are employed in, focussing on the incidence of part-time employment, and sectoral and occupational patterns of employment. The chapter concludes with a discussion on the challenges and opportunities of the digital transformation of labour markets in OECD countries.

  • This chapter illustrates the state of gender equality in public employment, by highlighting recent trends in women’s representation within the public sector. It then outlines persistent barriers and focuses on measures adopted by OECD countries to address sexual harassment, which is reportedly one of the most prevalent barriers to women’s advancement in public employment. Finally, the chapter sheds light on the challenges and opportunities related to women’s representation and advancement in the public service brought about by recent trends in the future of work, such as automation, digitalisation and flexible working arrangements.

  • This chapter starts by presenting the specificities of the Ukrainian refugee crisis caused by Russia’s large‑scale war of aggression against Ukraine, highlighting the unusual gender dimension of the Ukrainian refugees. It then focuses on key obstacles that Ukrainian refugee women face to labour market integration, including care obligations, risks of exploitation and uncertainties regarding the future due to the breakdown of family units. The chapter concludes with policy reflections on the need for both targeted and mainstream measures to support the labour market integration of Ukrainian refugee women.

  • This chapter first shows some trend data on the gender wage gap in OECD countries. It then presents new evidence on the gender wage gap among men and women with similar skills in selected OECD countries, and analyses in particular the role of firms. The analysis is based on “linked” employer-employee data derived from administrative records of the tax and social security systems for 16 OECD countries. Upon presenting the findings, the chapter discusses different elements that policy packages could include to successfully reduce gender pay gaps. The chapter concludes with a summary of policy implications.

  • This chapter presents an analysis of gender diversity on boards, in managerial and in leadership positions across 49 jurisdictions. It then takes stock of existing policies and practices to support better gender representation in such positions. It provides evidence and focuses on implications of policy measures related to disclosure requirements, quotas and targets, but also complementary initiatives to strengthen the pipeline of female talent for leadership positions.

  • Enabling the participation and representation of all groups in public life is important for building trust in government and sustaining vibrant and strong democracies. This chapter explores the links between gender equality in public decision making and trust in democratic institutions. The chapter also maps out recent trends in gender-balance in parliaments, cabinets and the judiciary across the OECD and discusses persistent and emerging barriers to women’s participation and representation, including in leadership positions. Finally, the chapter describes some measures taken by OECD countries to enhance women’s leadership in public decision-making roles.

  • This chapter provides a snapshot of the available gender data for employment, senior management, decision makers, entrepreneurship and innovation in the energy sector – a historically male‑dominated sector which needs to attract a more diverse range of talent and skills. It also shows that promoting gender equality in the energy sector is a priority for many governments and provides examples of policy approaches being adopted in the sector.

  • This chapter summarises data collected by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) in 2021 about the gender balance in the nuclear sector in NEA member countries. It shows that on average women are underrepresented in the nuclear workforce and that women are also paid less than men in the sector. It then analyses workplace culture and practices, showing that they are not sufficiently supportive for women in the sector. It also considers how nuclear sector-specific barriers interact with broader sociocultural challenges. In response to these issues, a comprehensive policy framework is proposed.

  • This chapter begins with an analysis of existing gender inequalities in the transport sector with regard to women both as transport users and in the transport workforce. Next, the chapter discusses policy frameworks that aim to close gender gaps in the transport sector. It also provides examples of policy initiatives that support policy makers in collecting gender disaggregated data and integrating a gender perspective into transport policies and transport planning.

  • This chapter assesses gender gaps in asset-backed pension arrangements, where contributions are invested to finance future retirement income. It first evaluates the contribution of these arrangements to the overall gender pension gap. It then analyses the drivers of the gender gap in asset-backed pension arrangements stemming from labour market and other factors. Finally, it provides policy guidelines focusing on asset-backed pension arrangements that would contribute to reducing the overall gender pension gap.

  • This chapter presents the wide variety of employment-protected paid parental leave leaves in OECD countries, spanning from maternity and paternity leave to parental leave with earmarked entitlements for mothers and fathers. It continues by discussing the impact parental leaves can have on family and child well-being, employment, and the division of paid and unpaid work in households. The chapter concludes with recent policy developments, which have often focussed on increasing earmarked entitlements to encourage more active participation of fathers in caregiving.

  • This chapter discusses the provision of early childhood education and care (ECEC) in OECD countries. It first considers differences in enrolment rates across OECD countries and age groups as well as recent policy efforts to increase childcare availability. It then discusses the variation in out-of-pocket childcare costs and how countries aim to support families that struggle with the affordability of ECEC. An overview of quality challenges in ECEC provision closes this chapter.

  • This chapter considers the relationship between gender equity and tax and transfer systems. It first explores why it is important to consider gender equity in taxation: tax policy can be an effective tool contributing to gender fairness and governments’ efforts to reduce gender inequalities. Secondly, the chapter examines the direct and indirect impacts tax policy choices may have on gender outcomes, finding that even gender-neutral tax systems can have adverse impacts on gender through their interactions with broader inequalities in societies. The chapter also analyses the impacts labour incentives may have on gender outcomes, showing that the design of income taxes can influence the incentives for workers to enter the labour market as well as the nature of their participation. Finally, the chapter discusses the case for governments assessing the impacts of tax policy and administration on gender outcomes.

  • Based on an OECD working paper on telework and gender, this chapter takes stock of existing data and research on the gendered dimension of teleworking. First, it analyses existing data on work from home, teleworking, teleworkability and preferences for work from home. It then presents key insights from a literature review on the effects of teleworking on work-life balance inequalities, on the gender wage gap, and on gender disparities in career progression.

  • This chapter first presents an overview of pay transparency tools in OECD countries, including a classification of countries by the presence of regulations requiring private sector pay reporting, pay auditing, or related measures. It then shows key findings from the limited evaluation evidence available on the application of these tools. The chapter continues by presenting key reasons that justify the need for pay transparency practices. It ends with policy recommendations, including detailed steps for countries that currently have pay transparency policies in place to help pay transparency tools close the gender wage gap.

  • The persistent gender gap in entrepreneurship continues to cost economies across the OECD. Prior to the COVID‑19 pandemic, the gender gap had closed slightly in recent years. However, evidence suggests that the pandemic reversed some of this progress. This chapter presents data on trends in women’s entrepreneurship and self-employment across OECD countries for the period 2016‑21. The chapter calls for governments to go further to address gender gaps in entrepreneurship and self-employment, including through the use of direct and indirect policy measures. It proposes future policy directions, notably greater use of tailored policy interventions.

  • Women entrepreneurs have long faced barriers in access to finance for business creation and growth. This chapter presents data on the barriers faced by women entrepreneurs and highlights recent public policy measures that aim to address the gender gap in entrepreneurship finance. The chapter discusses the need to increase the use of microfinance to support business creation by women and improve the quality of accompanying non-financial services. It also covers the potential of fintech to improve access to debt and equity financing and the need to scale up measures to support growth-oriented women. The chapter underlines the need for more action in the collection of gender-disaggregated data to support policy making. It then presents key policy messages on future directions for public policy.

  • This chapter analyses key characteristics of the exporting behaviours of women-led firms, based on data of 14 000 businesses in OECD countries, collected through the Future of Business Survey. It then analyses the key challenges that women entrepreneurs face in accessing international markets, in part related to factors such as the company sector, size and obstacles for international sales. It also provides some evidence on the impact of COVID‑19 on women-led businesses. It then presents an overview of key policies to support women business leaders in trade, touching upon issues such as trade agreements, market access, trade facilitation, trade promotion services, finance, networks and data.

  • This chapter examines how foreign direct investment (FDI) influences gender equality in host countries by contributing to the development of sectors where many women work or have the potential to work and through the activities of foreign affiliates of multinational enterprises (MNEs). It examines institutional frameworks and policies that can enhance the positive impact of FDI on gender equality, providing examples of good practices from OECD and non-OECD countries. Finally, it discusses how development co‑operation can play an important role in mobilising and improving the impact of FDI on gender equality.

  • This chapter starts by showing the relevance of the social economy as a labour market for women. It then shows that existing gender gaps in leadership and pay are relatively limited in the social economy. The chapter highlights that entities that have a social purpose and/or flexible working conditions attract women to the social economy, but it also stresses the risk of “dual labour market dynamics” limiting women to what is traditionally perceived as “women’s jobs or roles”. After analysing women’s employment in the social economy, the chapter provides policy recommendations to further recognise their work and leadership in the field. It also suggests ways to increase women’s participation in high-growth sectors within the social economy, such as technology-intensive and green sectors.

  • This chapter provides an overview of the recent reforms addressing gender gaps in Middle East and North African (MENA) labour markets and the remaining legal barriers. It investigates opportunities provided by digitalisation for enhancing women’s economic contribution in the region, as well as the risks Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) might pose to women’s economic empowerment in the region. The chapter reflects on the appropriate safeguards to make digitalisation a catalyst for inclusiveness.