Bangladesh women are under-represented in all hourly wages: ILO

Women in Bangladesh are under-represented in all hourly wages, according to the latest Global Wage report of the International Labour Organization or ILO.

Published : 26 Nov 2018, 10:41 PM
Updated : 27 Nov 2018, 00:31 AM

In its Global Wage Report 2018-19, the ILO says the ratio of representation of women to men in the country is around 1:3.

The condition is poorer in Jordan and Egypt while to a lesser extent in Mexico, Nepal, The Gambia, South Africa and the United Republic of Tanzania, according to the report published on Monday.

In fact, across the world, a “sizeable” proportion of women are left out of wage employment, it says.

In the case of high-income countries, reduced participation of women in wage employment may be the consequence of motherhood status, whereas in middle- or low-income countries not being in wage employment may also be an indicator of participation in own-account work in the informal economy, according to the report.

In all but five of the 73 countries in the ILO database, the incidence of part-time work is higher among women than among men, although the scale of the difference varies widely.

In the Netherlands, for example, 72 percent of women employees but only 26 percent of men employees are part-time workers.

By contrast, among Bangladeshi employees, only 10 percent of women and 4 percent of men work parttime.

On a weighted average of the 72 countries, the proportion of women in part-time work is 14 percent, compared to 7 percent for men.


The report finds global wage growth has been weak while the gender pay gap, at about 20 percent globally, remains unacceptably high. It means women are still earning 20 percent less than men do globally.

Bangladesh, however, has made remarkable progress in reducing gender pay gap. It is among a few countries where the pay gap is in favour of women.

Against a global average of 15.6 percent in men's favour, gender pay gap in Bangladesh is 5.5 percent in women's favour.

Source: ILO

In real terms, adjusted for price inflation, global wage growth declined to 1.8 percent in 2017 from 2.4 percent in 2016. The findings are based on data from 136 countries.

In the last 20 years, average real wages have almost tripled in emerging and developing G20 countries, while in advanced G20 countries they have increased by just 9 percent, the report shows.

But, in many low- and middle-income economies, wage inequality remains high and wages are frequently insufficient to cover the needs of workers and their families.

The report finds that in high-income countries it is at the high end of the pay scale that the gender pay gap is wider, while in low- and middle-income countries the gender pay gap is wider amongst the lower paid workers.

“The gender pay gap represents one of today’s greatest manifestations of social injustice," ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said.

Surprisingly, the evidence shows that even before women reach motherhood, there is already a pay gap.

This suggests a need to combat stereotypes and discrimination at the point of entry into the labour market, the report says.

Although there is some variation among countries, it seems that in many countries the gender pay gap widens gradually from the younger to the older cohorts.

What is also striking is that in all but four of the countries, including Bangladesh, the gender pay gap is positive at the point of entry into the labour market.

The three others are Australia, China, and Russian Federation.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher