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Gender differences in the South African labour market (1995 – 2007): A descriptive review Dori Posel School of Development Studies, UKZN June 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Gender differences in the South African labour market (1995 – 2007): A descriptive review Dori Posel School of Development Studies, UKZN June 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Gender differences in the South African labour market (1995 – 2007): A descriptive review Dori Posel School of Development Studies, UKZN June 2011

2 Main objectives: 1)To describe how women’s economic status in the labour market has changed in the post-apartheid period. -Labour force participation (employment and unemployment) -Returns to employment (earnings) 2) To highlight some of the implications of gender differences in labour market status.

3 Quantitative study: Data October Household Survey (OHS), 1995 – 1999 September Labour Force Survey (LFS), 2000 – 2007 ~ Nationally representative household surveys conducted by Statistics South Africa; typically households interviewed. A period of 12 years  can be more confident in identifying real changes (rather than “noise”, mismeasurement etc).

4 1.How has women’s economic status changed, 1995 – 2007? i)Changes in employment and unemployment:

5 Female employment grew by more than male employment over the period (accounting for 56 percent of the total rise in employment). But: men still form the majority of the employed.  Women’s share of employment increased.

6 Unemployment Economic growth has not been jobless, but the increase in employment has been smaller than the increase in those who want employment to 2007: -3.1 million increase in jobs. But: -3.6 million increase in those who want employment but who are unemployed.  Increase in unemployment rates. Although women’s share of employment has risen, women have also been more vulnerable to unemployment than men.

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8 Women dominate the non-searching unemployed, hence gender differences are particularly pronounced when comparing expanded unemployment. Over the period: The increase in women’s unemployment has been larger than the increase in male unemployment  gender differences in the risk of unemployment have widened.

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10 In recent years: unemployment levels have been flattening out or even falling. But the increase in employment remains too slow to significantly affect unemployment rates, which remain very high.

11 ii) Earnings: Average monthly earnings for women in 1995 = 64 per cent of men’s earnings; by 2007 = 72 per cent.

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14 The composition of those in the top earnings decline, 1995 and 2007: Considerable fall in the share of White men among top income-earners. Percentage of women in the top earnings decile: increased from 20 per cent in 1995 to 33 per cent in 2007.

15 The composition of those in the bottom earnings decile, 1995 and 2007: Increase in the share of African women among the bottom earners, from 46 per cent in 1995 to 58 per cent in  Women’s share of low-paid work has increased considerably.

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17 2. How have women’s living arrangements changed?

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20 3. Implications Source: October Household Surveys 1997 and 1999; General Household Surveys (GHS) 2004 and Poverty line = R322 per capita per month (2000 prices)

21 Children are far more likely to be living with their mothers than with their fathers:

22 Feminisation of the labour force in post-apartheid South Africa  Women’s share of employment has increased, but their share of unemployment has grown even more dramatically. The average (unadjusted) gender gap in earnings has fallen, but a persistent gender gap in earnings remains (of about 29 per cent). Falling marriage rates + growing share of women living in households without (employed) men means that a rising share of households are reliant on women’s earnings. Gender differences in employment, unemployment and earnings help explain why women are more vulnerable to poverty than men. Children are considerably more likely to live with their mothers than their fathers, so gender differences in poverty have implications for poverty risks among children.

23 Appendix: Working conditions and gender


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