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Guide to Womenomics_Economist_4-12-2006

Guide to Womenomics_Economist_4-12-2006 - Economist.com...

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Economist.com http://www.economist.com/finance/PrinterFriendly.cfm?story_id=6802551 1 of 4 4/13/2006 4:20 PM About sponsorship Women and the world economy A guide to womenomics Apr 12th 2006 From The Economist print edition The future of the world economy lies increasingly in female hands “WHY can't a woman be more like a man?” mused Henry Higgins in “My Fair Lady”. Future generations might ask why a man can't be more like a woman. In rich countries, girls now do better at school than boys, more women are getting university degrees than men are and females are filling most new jobs. Arguably, women are now the most powerful engine of global growth. In 1950 only one-third of American women of working age had a paid job. Today two-thirds do, and women make up almost half of America's workforce (see chart 1). Since 1950 men's employment rate has slid by 12 percentage points, to 77%. In fact, almost everywhere more women are employed and the percentage of men with jobs has fallen—although in some countries the feminisation of the workplace still has far to go: in Italy and Japan, women's share of jobs is still 40% or less. The increase in female employment in developed countries has been aided by a big shift in the type of jobs on offer. Manufacturing work, traditionally a male preserve, has declined, while jobs in services have expanded. This has reduced the demand for manual labour and put the sexes on a more equal footing. In the developing world, too, more women now have paid jobs. In
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Economist.com http://www.economist.com/finance/PrinterFriendly.cfm?story_id=6802551 2 of 4 4/13/2006 4:20 PM the emerging East Asian economies, for every 100 men in the labour force there are now 83 women, higher even than the average in OECD countries. Women have been particularly important to the success of Asia's export industries, typically accounting for 60-80% of jobs in many export sectors, such as textiles and clothing. Of course, it is misleading to talk of women's “entry” into the workforce. Besides formal employment, women have always worked in the home, looking after children, cleaning or cooking, but because this is unpaid, it is not counted in the official statistics. To some extent, the increase in female paid employment has meant fewer hours of unpaid housework. However, the value of housework has fallen by much less than the time spent on it, because of the increased productivity afforded by dishwashers, washing machines and so forth. Paid nannies and cleaners employed by working women now also do some work that used to belong in the non-market economy.
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