World Bank says women still face huge inequalities in employment and lack basic freedoms and opportunities despite having academic qualifications they lacked 10 years ago.
In the latest report titled 'Gender at Work: A Companion to the World Development Report on Jobs' released this week, the bank says less than half of women have jobs, compared with almost four fifths of men globally.
"Girls and women still learn less, earn less, and have fewer assets and face discriminatory laws and norms that constrain their time and choices, and their ability to own or inherit property, open a bank account, or get a loan," the report says.
It said worldwide participation of women in the labor force over the last two decades has stagnated, declining from 57 per cent to 55 per cent.
"Men are nearly twice as likely as women to have full-time jobs and the former's participation is at 25 percent low in the Middle East and North Africa."
The report added that gender gaps cut across the farming, entrepreneurship, and employment sectors with gender specific constraints contributing to the low output of women in agriculture and less profits in investment as they operate smaller firms.
"Women are concentrated in occupations and sectors with lower barriers to entry and are more likely to work in temporary and part-time jobs, with little likelihood of being promoted and they also do the vast majority of unpaid care and housework," it said.
To ignite gender equality in the world of work, the report recommends governments and the private sector to address constraints across its life cycle and reforming the "rules of the game" in order to address overlapping disadvantages.
Closing data gaps and investing in knowledge will enable more evidence based policy making and tracking of results while proactive private sector leadership and innovation can encourage women participation and success in careers, the report said.