The state of Women’s Economic Empowerment
in the
Indian
Ocean

Explore the Numbers

Indian Ocean Rim countries have set change in motion, investing in laws, policies, and institutions that empower women economically.

Only

36%

of women participate in the labour force in the region

See the Data

Compared to

73%

of men

See the Data
Close

Difference in labour force participation between men and women across the region

0 25% 50% 75% 100%
79%
50%

Iran

Difference: 57%
74%
17%

Oman

Difference: 54%
83%
29%

India

Difference: 53%
80%
27%

Yemen

Difference: 47%
72%
25%

United Arab Emirates

Difference: 45%
92%
47%

Comoros

Difference: 45%
80%
35%

Sri Lanka

Difference: 41%
76%
35%

Indonesia

Difference: 31%
84%
53%

Malaysia

Difference: 32%
76%
44%

Mauritius

Difference: 30%
74%
44%

Bangladesh

Difference: 27%
84%
57%

Singapore

Difference: 18%
77%
59%

Thailand

Difference: 17%
81%
64%

South Africa

Difference: 16%
61%
45%

Australia

Difference: 13%
72%
59%

Kenya

Difference: 10%
72%
62%

Madagascar

Difference: 4%
91%
87%

Tanzania

Difference: 2%
90%
88%

Mozambique

Difference: 3%
86%
83%
Women
Men
Average

Note: Seychelles not included due to lack of data.

Source: World Bank, World Development Indicators (Washington D.C., 2015).

Regionally, women only make

80 cents

for every dollar men earn. That is just 3 cents better than the global average.

See the Data

Also known as the gender pay gap, this is a major cause of lifetime income inequality. At every level of education, women on average earn less than men.

See the Data

Discriminatory labour policies, social norms and occupational segregation can contribute to the gender pay gap.

See the Data
Close

Gender pay gap, broken down by how much women earn for every dollar men earn.

Regional Average: 80¢

For every dollar earned by a man

Australia India Indonesia Iran Madagascar Malaysia Mauritius Oman Seychelles Singapore South Africa Sri Lanka Tanzania Thailand United Arab Emirates

Note: Calculations based on average wages paid to women compared to those paid to men as a percentage of men’s earnings.
Bangladesh, Comoros, Kenya, Mozambique, Yemen not included due to lack of data.

Source: UN Women, Progress of the World’s Women 2015-2016: Transforming Economies, Realizing Rights (New York, 2015).

When taking into account all hours worked (including unpaid care and domestic work):

See the Data

Men work an average of

6.6

hours a day across the region

See the Data

And are paid for

76%

of their time

See the Data

Women, on the other hand, work

7.6

hours a day on average

See the Data

But are only paid for

39%

of their time

See the Data

While some countries are on their way, women haven’t broken through the glass ceiling yet.

Close

Hours of unpaid care & domestic work done by women and men against total hours worked in a day.

0 2 3 6 8 10

Bangladesh

Total Hrs: Women: 8.8 Men: 8.3
Unpaid Hrs: Women: 3.5 Men: 1.5

Australia

Total Hrs: Women: 7.3 Men: 7
Unpaid Hrs: Women: 5.1 Men: 2.8

South Africa

Total Hrs: Women: 6.4 Men: 5
Unpaid Hrs: Women: 4.1 Men: 1.5

Tanzania

Total Hrs: Women: 8.4 Men: 7
Unpaid Hrs: Women: 4.2 Men: 1.3

Mauritius

Total Hrs: Women: 6.6 Men: 6.2
Unpaid Hrs: Women: 4.6 Men: 1.2

India

Total Hrs: Women: 8.4 Men: 6.2
Unpaid Hrs: Women: 5.9 Men: 0.9

Note: Comoros, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Yemen not included due to lack of data.

Source: UN Women, Progress of the World’s Women 2015-2016: Transforming Economies, Realizing Rights (New York, 2015).

No country in the region has reached gender parity in management, and nine fall below the global average.

See the Data
See the Data
Close

The percentage of all managers who are women across the region

0 12.5 25 37.5 Parity
23.1%

Bangladesh

5.4% Global Rank: 105

Oman

9.3% Global Rank: 101

United Arab Emirates

10% Global Rank: 99

Iran

14.6% Global Rank: 90

Yemen

15.2% Global Rank: 88

Tanzania

16.5% Global Rank: 86

Indonesia

21.2% Global Rank: 81

Malaysia

21.5% Global Rank: 79

Mauritius

23.4% Global Rank: 74

Thailand

28.2% Global Rank: 64

Sri Lanka

28.4% Global Rank: 63

South Africa

31.3% Global Rank: 54

Singapore

31.6% Global Rank: 53

Australia

36.2% Global Rank: 36

Madagascar

36.6% Global Rank: 33

Seychelles

40.8% Global Rank: 20

Note: Comoros, India, Kenya, Mozambique not included due to lack of data.

Source: International Labour Organization, Women in Business and Management: Gaining Momentum (Geneva, 2015).

  • UAE, Oman, Malaysia, Mozambique, Yemen
  • India, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Tanzania
  • Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Thailand, Comoros, Madagascar, Seychelles
  • Bangladesh, Singapore, South Africa, Australia
  • 13-15 weeks
    India, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Tanzania

All countries in the region provide mandatory maternity leave.

But only a handful cover the minimum 14 weeks recommended by the International Labour Organization.

Few allow for paid paternity leave.

See the Data

Paid maternity and paternity leave policies enable the distribution of care responsibilities and expand women’s choices to remain in the labour force.

See the Data
Close

Duration of paid maternity and paternity leave across the region

0 5 10 15 20
12 weeks
4 weeks

United Arab Emirates

6 Weeks
0 Days

Oman

7 Weeks
0 Days

Malaysia

9 Weeks
0 Days

Mozambique

9 Weeks
1 Days

Yemen

9 Weeks
0 Days

India

12 Weeks
0 Days

Mauritius

12 Weeks
5 Days

Sri Lanka

12 Weeks
0 Days

Tanzania

12 Weeks
3 Days

Indonesia

13 Weeks
2 Days

Iran

13 Weeks
0 Days

Kenya

13 Weeks
14 Days

Thailand

13 Weeks
0 Days

Comoros

14 Weeks
10 Days

Madagascar

14 Weeks
10 Days

Seychelles

14 Weeks
4 Days

Bangladesh

16 Weeks
10 Days

Singapore

16 Weeks
7 Days

South Africa

17 Weeks
3 Days

Australia

18 Weeks
14 Days

Source: International Labour Organization, Maternity and Paternity at Work: Law and Practice across the World (Geneva, 2014).

Most countries in the region have some legal protection for women’s right to work and rights at work.

See the Data
No laws: Oman, Yemen. Laws: Australia, Tanzania, Mauritius, India, Bangladesh, Kenya, Madagascar, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, UAE, Sri Lanka, Mozambique

Almost all have laws banning sexual harassment in employment.

See the Data
No laws: Bangladesh, Kenya, Madagascar, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, UAE, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Oman, Yemen. Laws: Australia, Tanzania, Mauritius, India

But laws that address gender discrimination in hiring are particularly weak.

See the Data
No Laws: India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, UAE, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Oman, Yemen. Laws: Australia, Tanzania, Mauritius, Bangladesh, Kenya, Madagascar

And only a third of countries ensure equal pay for work of equal value.

See the Data
Close

Laws protecting women in the workplace across the region

Non-discrimination Based on Gender in Hiring Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value Banning Sexual Harassment in Employment

Yemen

Oman

Mozambique

Sri Lanka

United Arab Emirates

Thailand

South Africa

Singapore

Malaysia

Iran

Indonesia

Madagascar

Kenya

Bangladesh

India

Mauritius

Tanzania

Australia

law
no law

Note: Comoros, Seychelles not included due to lack of data.

Source: World Bank, Women, Business and the Law Database (Washington D.C., 2015).

Despite progress, there’s much to be done.

For greater gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, the region needs to foster enabling legal and policy frameworks and institutions that:

  1. Ensure gender equality in the workplace
  2. Prevent gender discrimination, and
  3. Ensure equal pay for work of equal value

Enhanced investment in such laws, policies and institutions will support women’s important economic contributions throughout the region while fulfilling their human rights.

Share:

‘Enabling women’s contributions to the Indian Ocean Rim countries’

Download the Report

Want to share the stats & graphics?

Close

This infographic gives a snapshot of the status of women’s economic empowerment in the Indian Ocean region and is an extension of the UN Women report, “Enabling women’s contributions to the Indian Ocean Rim economies.”

Women in Indian Ocean Rim countries are not a homogenous group. They are workers, entrepreneurs, mothers, daughters, teachers and students, caregivers and those in need of care. Despite their diversity, they rely on interconnected environments, institutions and markets for their livelihoods. The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) represents one of the world’s most dynamic regional communities, united by a shared commitment to the prosperity of the region through inclusive, sustainable economic growth that includes women’s economic empowerment.

In October 2016, IORA Foreign Ministers affirmed this commitment in a Declaration on Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment, which recognizes that women’s economic empowerment is a foundational element of gender equality and the full and equal realization of women’s human rights. Accelerating progress towards women’s economic empowerment in the Indian Ocean Rim region can have a positive impact both regionally and globally.

UN Women would especially like to thank the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs for their contributions to producing the infographic and the associated report.