Women, Government and Policy Making in OECD Countries

Fostering Diversity for Inclusive Growth

image of Women, Government and Policy Making in OECD Countries

Achieving gender equality in the economy and in the political leadership remains an ongoing challenge across the world. This report aims to address this gap. It  provides comparative data and policy benchmarks on women's access to public leadership and inclusive gender-responsive policy-making across OECD countries. The report is prepared in the context of the OECD Gender Initiative, launched by the OECD Ministers.

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Women as public employees

The public sector is an important source of employment in all OECD countries and women are generally well represented among public employees. This chapter discusses women’s employment in the public sector in OECD and partner countries, based on empirical evidence from the 2011 OECD Survey on Gender in Public Employment and OECD research. Specifically, it highlights employment and occupational patterns of women in the public sector, their contractual arrangements and their average earnings as compared to men. The influence of the economic downturn on gender equality in the public sector is also explored. Despite notable progress, women remain overrepresented in lower pay and part-time jobs and tend to experience more frequent career breaks, which may lead to lower pay positions and fewer career development opportunities. To respond to the highlighted challenges, the chapter identifies a set of good practices and actionable policy recommendations, such as equality acts, gender diversity targets and quotas, family friendly policies and training programmes, in the public service. Finally the chapter emphasises the importance of collecting good quality gender disaggregated data for developing sound policy solutions and outlines key policy recommendations for governments to enable equal access to opportunities in the public sector, reduce the pay gap and improve working conditions.


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