Unemployment Rates Among Women Around the World

The prospect of losing a job and finding another is difficult for women everywhere, yet some countries see it more often than others.
The prospect of losing a job and finding another is difficult for women everywhere, yet some countries see it more often than others.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) is an agency that fights for the rights and promotes the welfare of laborers worldwide. ILO advocates for decent work and employment for all. However, ILO has reported very worrying reports on the rate of employment. Unemployment is defined by ILO as the portion of labor force available, ready, and seeking for work but is without work while decent work is simply a productive work opportunity with a fair income. ILO has also reported a disparity of gender employment in most countries with female being the most affected. Some of the countries with the highest female unemployment rates in the world are detailed below.


Most of the Yemeni women mainly carry out unpaid jobs such as farming, collecting firewood, and herding. The unemployment rate for Yemeni women stands at 39.2% with the majority of them qualified for technical work. The unemployment rate is particularly high in urban areas of Yemen. Most of the employment opportunities are reserved for men while women are marginalized. Women are also denied other rights such as medical care and education.


Lesotho’s unemployment rate has continued to reduce with the increase in industrialization and improved working environment. Lesotho is ranked first in bridging the gap between sectors. However, a great deal still needs to be done when it comes to employment. The unemployment rate among women stands at 32.1% because of higher literacy level compared to their male counterparts. This level of unemployment of women is attributed to rapid rural-urban migration. The economy is only able to generate 6000 jobs annually while population growth rate is high in the country.


Monetarist policies in Greece have affected employment rate and availability of decent work according to the World Bank. Unemployment has increased by 6% with those who have gone to school are the most affected. Women and youths have been affected by the increased rate of unemployment 31.4% of women looking for employment. The available jobs in Greece currently require lower qualification, therefore, making women do work that they are overqualified. Social factors such as women staying home for long, therefore, do not see the need for employment at an early stage in life while most of the companies are reluctant to hire women because of maternity cost.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina political situation coupled with years of war have discouraged most investors in the country. The citizens mostly rely on local companies and industries for employment. Domestic companies also experience stiff competition from regional companies making them less productive. The rate of unemployment continues to rise each year and women are the most affected who are unable to secure jobs with 29.8% of qualified women unemployed. Widespread corruption and nepotism have worsened the situation especially in employment for females.

What Makes Female Unemployment Rates High?

Female unemployment rates are still high in most countries, especially in the developing world. The high unemployment rate among women is mainly because of the perception of women, culture, and tradition. Women are considered weaker sex by most employers, therefore, will always overlook them for men. Most of the rural women are mainly employed in family farms where the pay is low, or payment is absent.

Highest Female Unemployment Rates In The World

RankCountryFemale Unemployment Rate
4Bosnia and Herzegovina29.8%
10South Africa27.6%

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