Countries Where Women Are Most Active In The Workforce

Women find employment in a variety of industries.
Women find employment in a variety of industries.

Women are an integral part of a country's workforce. However, there are some countries where societal norms or the culture has historically not been very acceptable of women in the workforce. Let's have a look at the top ten countries where women are the most active in the workforce.

10. Iceland (82% female participation rate)

Iceland has been the country with the smallest gender gap between men and women for 6 years in a row. The majority of women in Iceland work. The most common occupations for women are teaching, nursing and office work. The salary gap is also shortening down to 14% less mean salary for women. It should be further noted that only 22% women are in managerial positions and only about 41% parliamentarians are female.

9. Eritrea (82% female participation rate)

Eritrea is a surprising entry on this list but the reasons are not entirely unfounded. Independent for less than 60 years, Eritrea has come a long way and the nation owes much to its women for their participation in liberation. Women are active in almost all aspects of economic activity. However, the lack of formal higher education has hampered the growth of these numbers. Women play important roles in both urban and rural productive activities.

8. Nepal (83% female participation rate)

Nepal is an interesting entry in this list with a significant fact that the women unemployment rate is less than that of men. The literacy rates in Nepal are also low for women (when compared with men). Only 66 women are literate per 100 women according to UNICEF data in 2012. Women in Nepal also partake in almost all economic activities with numbers dwindling as we go up the hierarchy in generally any given industry.

7. Malawi (84% female participation rate)

Malawi is primarily an agricultural country and its no surprise that almost 90% of the working women spend their time in the agricultural and forestry sector (compared to 76% proportion for men). A significant 5% of women work in the retail which is very close to the 7% of men. The scarcity of women working in any other major economic sector can again be attributed directly to mass illiteracy.

6. Burundi (85% female participation rate)

Burundi has the highest employment rate for women since 1994. Primarily an agricultural country, Burundi also has a large majority of women working in the agriculture sector. The gender inequality in most areas is non-existent due to frequent political unrest and civil war.

5. Zimbabwe (85% female participation rate)

Zimbabwe lacks reliable labour statistics due to the economy being in a dismal state of disarray. Women are mostly employed in the agriculture, services or government sector with a particularly high number of women working in the low income group of workforce.

4. Mozambique (86% female participation rate)

Mozambique has one of the lowest adult literacy rates in Africa, with a rate of only 54% for women. It comes with no great surprise many women work in the low to almost non-existent income group. The workforce of the entire country is focused on agriculture.

3. Rwanda (88% female participation rate)

Rwanda has several bright statistics to report with almost 56% women in legislature. However, that’s the only bright ray of light in an otherwise improving chart of statistics with women increasing their workforce share as doctors, peacekeepers, business owners and education.

2. Madagascar (88% female participation rate)

Madagascar has high fertility rates which, when combined with a society that has been historically patriarchal to women, are hardly given a chance to hone their tertiary skills. As a result, the most common occupation is housewife and helpers in the agricultural sector.

1. Tanzania (90% female participation rate)

Tanzania also suffers from low literacy rates for women. In addition to that, Tanzanian women suffer from discrimination in most areas which starts as early as transitioning from primary to secondary schools. Salaries for women are on average 63% less than men. Therefore, despite being the top of the list, Tanzania still has a long way to go before it can be truly called a game changing example for working women.


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