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Executive Summary for June 29th

In this week’s gender equality news: how to avoid the impending care crisis, a high-profile activist arrested in Saudi Arabia and questioning one common theory on why women are paid less.

Published on June 29, 2018 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

A Road Map for the Future of Care Work: ILO

It will take 210 years to close the gender gap in unpaid care work, says the International Labour Organization (ILO) in a report released Thursday.

With changes in family structures, the prevalence of single-headed households and lengthening life expectancies, the world is headed for a care crisis unless governments and communities take action, the report says.

In its report Care Work and Care Jobs: For the Future of Decent Work, the ILO notes that in 2015, there were 2.1 billion people in need of care, which is provided overwhelmingly by women. Much of that work comes with no monetary compensation. On average, women dedicate 4 hours and 25 minutes per day to unpaid care work, compared with 1 hour and 23 minutes for men; that leaves women with little time for earning an income or pursuing an education.

The good news, according to the report, is that attitudes are changing and an increasing number of people no longer take it for granted that a family’s breadwinner must be male. To help ease the conflict between unpaid care work and decent employment, the report makes several recommendations. These include recognizing and measuring unpaid care work and finding ways to redistribute some of that work to men; implementing universal family-friendly working arrangements such as flexible work times, remote work and maternity and paternity leave; enacting laws to protect migrant care workers; and tackling child labor.

New High-Profile Arrest in Saudi Arabia’s Crackdown on Activists

Saudi women’s rights activist and writer Hatoon al-Fassi is the latest prominent advocacy figure to be arrested in Saudi Arabia’s ongoing crackdown on activists.

As rights advocates celebrate the end of the country’s ban on women driving, the government has detained more than a dozen activists over the past month on suspicion of having contact with “foreign entities.” Several of the arrested activists were known for having campaigned against the driving ban. Some have since been released while others have been put under travel restrictions and been warned not to comment on the driving ban.

Al-Fassi, an associate professor at King Saud University, was one of the first Saudi women to get behind the wheel for the first time after it was announced in September 2017 that the country would lift the world’s only remaining ban on female drivers.

Study Shows Women Do Ask for Raises, But Don’t Get Them

A new study seems to shatter one prevailing theory on the causes of the gender pay gap: that women are paid less because they don’t ask for a raise as often as men do.

Research by professors from the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, London’s Cass Business School and the University of Warwick shows that women are just as likely as men to negotiate for more pay – but they are less likely to get the raise they ask for.

In a sample of 4,600 randomly selected employees across 800 workplaces in Australia (the only country with “really good information on ‘asking’ behavior,” the researchers say), the rate of men and women who said they had asked for a raise while with their current employer was the same. But women who asked for more money were successful 15 percent of the time, while men got a raise 20 percent of the time.

The study also pushes back on the idea that women often don’t negotiate for more pay because they don’t want to risk their relationships with co-workers and employers – in the sample, 14 percent of both men and women said the fear of rocking the boat has stopped them from asking for a raise.

And future generations could succeed in further leveling the playing field. For workers under the age of 41, the researchers found almost no difference between women and men in how often they asked for a raise or how often they succeeded in getting one.

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