Higher unemployment, lower pay: Women still get raw deal


South African women are still not receiving equal pay as men and are more vulnerable to unemployment.

In its second quarterly survey Statistics South Africa reported an increase in unemployment to 27.2% from 26.7%.

Since 2008 the unemployment rate has increased from 23.2% in the first quarter of that year to 27.2% in the second quarter of 2018.

It also reported that women are more vulnerable to unemployment than men, with women experiencing a higher unemployment rate than men throughout this period.

Statistics show that women are less represented in the labour force than their male counterparts.

The fields of work women are overwhelmingly better represented in than men include clerical jobs and domestic worker jobs.

Stats SA’s Malerato Mosiane said while they don’t compare private and public sector employment rates, the unemployment rate for women is higher across the board.

This year Stats SA reported an increasing unemployment rate across all population groups with black African women at 33.2% unemployment rate, coloured women 22.9%, Indian/Asian 12.2% and white women 7.4%.

According to the Code for Africa gender gap calculator, a man in South Africa earns on average 67% more than a woman.

This online tool uses the Global Gender Gap Report 2017, which ranks South Africa 19 out of 144 countries when it comes to gender equality.

In South Africa the average salary for men per month is $558 (about R7 478) more than women.

This is the sixth largest gap in Africa. Stats SA also reported that women were more likely to be involved in unpaid work.

Tricia Govindasamy, senior data wrangler at Code for Africa, said overall the data showed that women were also employed for fewer hours than men.

She also noted a disparity in the gender employment gap in local government.

“You can actually see the gender gap in municipalities; that stood out for me because government should be at the forefront of promoting gender equality,” said Govindasamy.

She added that these statistics could become controversial in the way they are received but it remained an important topic to discuss.

“We’re hoping the tool will bring some awareness that would hopefully bring in some change ... without the data people will not know what’s going on,” she said.

Ahead of its Women’s Day activities, the presidency said as part of advancing the empowerment of women the government will review the progress made in addressing gender disparities.

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