• English

Women at work, but in which sector? Assessing persisting gender segregation across the region

In almost all UNECE countries with available data, women are overrepresented in the public sector, and men in the private sector. That is, a majority of those employed in the public sector are female, while a majority of those employed in the private sector are male.

Sweden and Finland have the highest proportion of female workers in the public sector (in 2014, 72 per cent of workers in the Swedish public sector were women). Denmark and the United Kingdom come next, with women making up 68 per cent of the workers in the public sector. Conversely, Sweden and Denmark also have the smallest proportions of female workers in the private sector. The only country where there are more women than men in the private sector is Cyprus, where women also constitute the majority of workers in the public sector. In 2014, the countries with the smallest proportion of women in the public sector were Greece and Albania, where women accounted for 47 per cent of the public sector workforce.

In a few countries, however, (Albania, Azerbaijan, Greece and Serbia) men make up the majority in both sectors. This reflects the low rates of female participation in the formal labour market, either because women are not working outside the home or because their work is often informal and not recorded in either sector. The relative labour market participation rate of women to men also explains why countries can have similar proportions of females within the private sector but very different proportions of females within the public sector.  

In spite of the growth in women’s labour force participation rate over the past 20 years, in most UNECE countries the gender difference between the public and private sectors has remained almost constant.

For more information about the data presented here, visit the UNECE database at www.unece.org/data.