United States, Jan 30 (Canadian-Media): There is a growing need for high-skill workers in the American workplace, and this has helped to narrow gender disparities in the labor market, a new Pew Research Center report finds.
Increasingly, U.S. employers are in pursuit of workers who are adept in social skills, like negotiation and persuasion, and who have a strong grounding in fundamental skills, such as critical thinking and writing. Jobs attaching greater importance to analytical skills, such as science and mathematics, are also adding workers at a brisk pace. Women have been in the forefront of meeting these challenges, and this has been to their benefit.
How we did this
Here are seven key findings from the report:
1Women are in the majority in jobs that draw most heavily on either social or fundamental skills.
In 2018, women made up 52% of employment in jobs in which either social or fundamental skills are most important – such as legal, teaching and counseling occupations (up from roughly 40% in 1980). Women also greatly raised their share of employment in occupations in which analytical skills are of greatest importance – such as accounting and dentistry – from 27% in 1980 to 42% in 2018. The increase in the share of women in these high-skill occupations was much greater than the increase in their share of employment overall, from 43% in 1980 to 47% in 2018.
2The growing presence of women in higher-skill occupations helped to narrow the gender wage gap.
As women surged into higher-skill occupations in recent decades, they experienced more rapid wage growth than men. A rising level of education among women was also a contributing factor. From 1980 to 2018, the average hourly wage of women increased 45%, from $15 to $22, compared with an increase of 14% for men, from $23 to $26 (wages expressed in 2018 dollars). Thus, the earnings of women as a ratio of the earnings of men increased from 0.67 to 0.85, a narrowing of the gender wage gap from 33 cents to the dollar in 1980 to 15 cents to the dollar in 2018.
3Despite women’s advantages in skills and education, the gender wage gap persists and is ubiquitous.
Regardless of the classification of occupations – by skill type or the importance of a skill – women’s earnings fell short of men’s earnings in 2018. For example, women in occupations with the greatest need for analytical skills earned $33 per hour, 88% as much as the men who earned $38 per hour in similar jobs. Women in occupations with the least need for analytical skills earned 82% as much as men in the same jobs.
The wage gap persists even though women currently hold an edge over men in certain skills and in schooling. In 2018, women constituted the majority in jobs in which fundamental and social skills are more important. Also, 40% of women had completed at least a four-year college program, compared with 35% of men. The analysis in this report estimates that women’s lead in skills and education helped to narrow the gender wage gap by 4 cents to the dollar. But the ongoing presence of a gender wage gap is attributable to a variety of other factors, some measurable (such as hours worked, industry and occupation) and others more difficult to pinpoint (such as discrimination by race, gender or other characteristics and differences in professional networks).
4Gender differences in skills are rooted in gender differences in occupations.
The skills that women and men deploy at the workplace are influenced by the specific occupations they gravitate to, whether by choice or due to cultural norms and other constraints. Some 61% of women were engaged in administrative support, health care, sales-related, managerial and education-related occupations in 2018 – all jobs more in need of social, fundamental and managerial skills. In contrast, 34% of men were employed in the following lines of work: production, installation and repair; construction, extraction and farming; and transportation and related. These occupations are more in need of mechanical skills.
5Employment is rising more rapidly in jobs in which social and fundamental skills are most important.
From 1980 to 2018, overall employment more than doubled in jobs where social and fundamental skills are most important, by 111% and 104%, respectively. (Examples of such jobs are social workers, lawyers and obstetricians.) Employment in jobs most in need of analytical skills, such as computer programmers, increased nearly as sharply (92%), compared with an increase of 58% in employment overall. Meanwhile, there was virtually no change in employment in jobs relying most on mechanical skills (only 4%). That is at least in part due to globalization and technological change, which have sharply reduced job opportunities in the manufacturing sector and the need for mechanical skills.
6Wages are higher and rising faster in jobs that rely heavily on social, fundamental, analytical and managerial skills.
When grouped by the importance of these four nonmechanical skills, average hourly wages in 2018 ranged from $29 in jobs in which social skills are most important, such as sales managers, to $36 in jobs in which analytical skills are most important, such as physicists. Jobs in which these skills are least important, such as dishwashers and telemarketers, paid from $15 to $18 per hour, on average. Furthermore, from 1980 to 2018, wages increased by at least 24% in jobs in which social, fundamental, analytical and managerial skills are most important, whereas wages in jobs least in need of these skills were either stagnant or barely changed.
Overall, both rising employment and wages in higher-skill jobs affirm the growing demand for workers more adept in social, fundamental, managerial and analytical skills. Wages vary little by mechanical skills, ranging from $22 to $25 in 2018 depending on the importance of mechanical skills.
7Emerging occupations call for greater proficiency in analytical skills.
The skills profiles of “new and emerging” occupations point to a rising need for analytical skills in the near future. Many of these jobs, such as database architects, informatics nurse specialists and video game designers, reflect the changes driven by modern-day technologies. The average rating of the importance of analytical skills in newer jobs is 21% greater than the average rating in existing jobs. The average rating of social skills in new jobs is 7% greater and the ratings for fundamental and managerial skills are both 10% higher in new jobs. Starting in 2010, the government’s database on job skills used in this report (O*NET) listed 147 occupations as “new and emerging.”
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Syria, Jan 23 (Canadian-Media): Continued displacement from conflict-affected areas in northeast Syria leaves women and girls in urgent need of safe spaces, shelter and reproductive health services, according to a Flash Update this week from UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, UN News release said.
The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is providing services to displaced women and girls across northeast Syria. Image credit: UNFPA Syria/2019
More than 70,000 people from the northeast remain displaced in Al-Hasakah, Ar-Raqqa and Aleppo governorates due to ongoing conflict in the area. Over 17,500 of the IDPs are women of reproductive age.
In addition to continued drops in temperature, women face hazardous living conditions and increased risks.
And without adequate health care and other services, internally-displaced women and girls are more likely to suffer gender-based violence.
"Women and girls face multiple protection and reproductive health risks in northeast Syria. The risk of gender-based violence is particularly high in camps such as Al Hol, where 96 per cent of the camp population are women and children”, explained Karen Daduryan, UNFPA Representative in Syria.
Furthermore, “women with disabilities are particularly vulnerable and require special attention”, she said
The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is providing services to displaced women and girls across northeast Syria. Image credit: UNFPA Syria/2019
Hope in crisis
UNFPA, through its implementing partners, operates six “safe spaces” for women and girls in the wartorn region, to ensure safety and support.
They provide essential services to address gender-based violence, including psychosocial support, case management, awareness raising, vocational training, and access to more specialized services such as mental health and reproductive healthcare.
The safe spaces serve newly-displaced women, as well as those living in host communities, and there are also mobile teams and clinics, taking treatment to where it’s needed most.
Lifelines for women in need
Asma’a Al Issa, 32, was one of many women who received life-saving access to reproductive healthcare through UNFPA and partner organizations.
“I was worried before giving birth”, explained Ms. Al Issa. First displaced three years ago when her house in Al Qadisia Village was demolished, she now lives in Al Tapqqa, a city in Raqqa governorate, in a home which is still being rebuilt.
It is a great mission to have saved her and her new baby’s life – UNFPA-supported midwife, Hanan
Ms. Al Issa received maternal health services from a clinic operated by the non-profit organization Al Mawada with support from UNFPA. She went into labour on 25 October, amid rising hostilities in the area.
With the skilled care provided by Hanan, a midwife at the clinic, her pregnancy went smoothly despite the violence and turmoil around her.
“Asma’a gave birth without any complications,” Hanan later explained. “It is a great mission to have saved her and her new baby’s life.”
“Now I am very happy to have a baby girl,” Ms. Al Issa told UNFPA. She was discharged with her and her daughter in healthy condition and high spirits.
More than 42,000 women beneficiaries
Since October last year, UNFPA and partners have provided reproductive health services, including safe childbirth, antenatal and postnatal care and family planning, to over 42,000 women of reproductive age. More than 39,000 services were provided to prevent, mitigate and respond to gender-based violence.
People living in 45 shelters and four IDP and refugee camps throughout the region were helped and between October and mid-January, UNFPA supported 40 deliveries.
“Asma’a is not a special case or an exception,” explained Dr. Adnan, a reproductive health coordinator working in the area. She’s proud of the healthcare that has been provided through international humanitarian efforts.
She is one of thousands displaced and deprived families that we serve every day – Dr. Adnan, reproductive health coordinator
A sense of safety and hope, is another vital byproduct of the access to care that women have been given, amidst too much violence and despair: “She is one of thousands displaced and deprived families that we serve every day.”
Between March 2019 and mid-January, 189,463 services were provided in the Al-Hol camp alone.
Reproductive health and gender-based violence services as well as sanitary napkins and dignity kits have been provided, and literacy courses, in coordination with UNICEF.
“In certain cases, UNFPA and its partners deal with radical cultural and social norms while delivering gender-based violence and reproductive health services. And this requires tailored and innovative ways of reaching out to affected women and girls" noted the agency’s Syria Representative, Mr. Daduryan.
Dedication to safety and access
Relocations and continued displacement create obstacles for healthcare access, in addition to insufficient supplies of materials and overcrowding.
“The scope and severity of needs, as well as geographic spread in the northeast, require urgent scale-up of UNFPA's humanitarian response”, he added.
“Due to generous support of multiple donors and dedicated work of partners, UNFPA has been able to reach out to most vulnerable women and girls with lifesaving and life sustaining reproductive health and gender-based violence services.”
UNFPA cites a number of challenges to continued support for women in North East Syria. These include overcrowding in collective shelters, insufficient supply of winterized clothes and limited specialized expertise in the provision of services to respond to gender-based violence.
“It is time to assess the results and gaps in outreach and quality of services to ensure that women and girls who need these services in camps, shelters, out-of-camp settlements and communities, have access to quality gender-based violence and reproductive health services and supplies,” urged Mr. Daduryan.
“We count on continued support of our donors and partners in this challenging task of ensuring health and dignity of all women affected by the crisis in northeast Syria.”
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Sudan, Jan 16 (Canadian-Media): Ongoing instability in Sudan’s West Darfur region has left the lives, health and safety of thousands of women hanging in the balance, according to the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, UN reports said.
UNFPA has been supporting pregnant women in West Darfur following an increase in instability in the region. Image credit: UNFPA
Since 28 December, intercommunal disputes in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) have left more than 40,000 civilians displaced, of whom an estimated 10,800, are women of reproductive age.
More than 50 were killed and 60 others injured, the UN has reported, and thousands of civilians in recent weeks crossed the border into Chad, seeking refuge.
Citing two flash reports this year, the UN agency shone a light on a serious lack of adequate reproductive health services and protection.
“Following the recent attack on the camps in West Darfur, women had to flee leaving behind their burnt houses and all of their personal belongings”, explained Massimo Diana, UNFPA Representative in Sudan. “The attack has left them traumatized and in need of psychological support”.
Moreover, as they have no private shelter, the women “continue to feel unsafe and are very vulnerable towards violence and harassment”, he added.
Immediate action needed
Based on data from the Ministry of Health and Social Development, there are an estimated 3,442 pregnant women in dire need of adequate reproductive health services – some 700 women of whom are in their ninth month of pregnancy, living in 41 different IDP sites.
Some 373 deliveries took place in the past 10 days alone. UNFPA stressed that immediate action is needed to save lives and ensure women’s health and safety.
“The unavailability of obstetric services for pregnant women and the lack of access to safe delivery is the reason for loss of lives both for mothers and newborns,” maintained Mr. Diana. “Overcrowding at hospitals during instability is common and in the case of current events in West Darfur means that women are delivering babies in shared rooms or open squares.”
While an estimated 160 midwives have been deployed, the availability of safe delivery facilities remains inadequate, leaving women to give birth in makeshift spaces, including classrooms in the presence of other women and children.
UN steps up assistance
UNFPA is supporting the State Ministry of Health and other partners in establishing sexual and reproductive health clinics in 31 IDP sites, which will include the services of 60 midwives.
The UN agency has also shipped 31 different emergency reproductive health kits from Khartoum to El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, to cover the needs of pregnant women.
Having no access to emergency obstetric care leads to an increase in maternal and neonatal deaths -- UNFPA
“Having no access to emergency obstetric care leads to an increase in maternal and neonatal deaths so this is a life-saving intervention,” pointed out Mr. Diana.
Credible information, including from rapid assessments, also indicates that amidst rising displacement, gender-based violence (GBV) is being perpetrated on a large scale and in different forms, especially for women and girls.
The Population Fund noted that a team of GBV and reproductive health coordinators were deployed to El Geneina and emergency reproductive health kits were dispatched to support the humanitarian response.
Moreover, prevention and response efforts are being strengthened, including by coordinating and providing psychosocial support and other services.
“Gender-based violence…is one of the most pervasive human-rights abuses in the world,” the UNFPA Representative spelled out. “Both priorities must always be treated with immediate attention – regardless of whether it is an emergency or not.”