Meaning of Participation of Women in the Labor Market

By | June 13, 2021

Although the labor market has changed over time, some issues, such as gender inequality , still persist. The insertion of women in the labor market occurred late and, despite their increasing presence, women still face many challenges. In this article, the participation of women in the labor market will be discussed, how this insertion took place and the challenges for achieving greater gender equity.

For a long time, most women did not perform paid work outside the home environment, and their role in society was restricted to functions related to household chores and family care, while the role of men was to work and provide the home. This reality started to change after the Industrial Revolution , but the participation of women in the labor market began to increase more significantly only after the Second World War , in 1945. This conflict boosted the insertion of women in the labor market. in the United States and Europe, as they took over the positions previously occupied by the men who were in combat.

In the context of today’s globalized societies, the division of labor by gender is highly questioned since technological and scientific advances make it possible to carry out various tasks regardless of the worker’s gender. However, it is important to note that although female participation in the labor market – in all sectors – has grown exponentially since the Second World War, in some sectors the parity between wages and opportunities for female and male workers is not yet observed.

Rosie the Riveter

The famous poster that shows a girl with a scarf on her head making a gesture of strength while flexing one of her biceps while exclaiming ” We can do it !” ( “We can do it!”) Is known as Rosie , the Riveter and was created by artist J. Howard Miller in 1942. It is part of a series of posters for a campaign aired in the United States, which had the goal to encourage women to take up men’s jobs in factories. This campaign was also aimed at men, so that they would allow their wives to start working outside the home.

The model who served as inspiration for the character on the poster was Naomi Parker Fraley, who was a real worker. The name Rosie , the Riveter refers to a song of the time, which praised the tireless work of women in the armaments factories. Over time, the poster, as it marks the beginning of the significant participation of women in the labor market, ended up becoming one of the symbols of the feminist movement, which fights for the equity of women’s rights.

The participation of women in the labor market in Brazil

In Brazil, the female workforce started to increase late, from the second half of the twentieth century. In 1950, for example, only 13.6% of women were employed, compared to 80.8% of men who worked. Even in the 1970s, most of them were dedicated exclusively to domestic work, and many left their jobs to get married and have children.

However, over the years, this reality has changed, with an increasing presence of women in the labor market. This increase is related to the advance of industrialization and the urbanization process in Brazil, added to the fertility drops, indicating that women are having fewer children and dedicating themselves more to studies and professional career than before. In 2018, they represented 45.2% of formal jobs, while men represented 60.1%, which shows that, although it has increased, female participation remains lower than that of men.

Although female participation is increasing in the labor market and despite having, on average, a higher level of education, Brazilian women still receive 30% less than men, even when they perform the same functions. In addition, leadership and leadership positions, in the vast majority of sectors, are held mainly by men. When it comes to unemployment, in Brazil, the rate is higher among women than among men.

This picture reflects only one of the types of discrimination against women, which also includes the greatest difficulty in accessing basic services such as health and education. According to the UN , the HDI of women is on average 8% lower than that of men worldwide.

In 2019, women represented only 15% of seats in the Chamber of Deputies and, in the Senate, only 13%. The percentage is very low, especially when considering that women correspond to more than half of the Brazilian population. Since 2009, there has been a law in Brazil that requires at least 30% of political party seats to be occupied by women.

It is also important to create conditions for women to be able to reconcile their professional activities with the right to maternity. For this reason, one of the most important labor rights for women is maternity leave, which, in Brazil, is 180 days. However, one of the biggest demands of women who are mothers is the creation of places for their children in daycare centers and schools, so that, after the period of leave, they have nowhere to leave them safe while working. In Brazil, there is a deficit of public daycare centers that affect mainly the poorest families, which undermines the safety of children and the stability of mothers at work.

Participation of Women in the Labor Market