New Report Details Gender Inequalities in Child Rearing and Household Tasks

Work/Life Balance Much Harder for Women: A new ITUC report examining how women take decisions on their working life confirms that deep-rooted inequalities in child care and household work are still restricting the opportunities for women to get the most out of paid employment.

The report, released by the ITUC on International Women’s Day, 8 March, is entitled "Decisions for Work: An Examination of the Factors Influencing Women’s Decisions for Work" and is based on an internet survey from 43 countries and analysis of legislation in an initial group of seven countries under the ITUC’s “Decisions for Life” project .

The report highlights the fact that the uneven share of household and child-care duties has a deep impact on career possibilities and on working patterns, and confirms that women with children are far more likely to work part-time than their male partners or than women who don’t have children.

A special chapter in the report also demonstrates that countries which ratify and implement ILO Conventions covering equality, protection from discrimination, maternity rights and workers with family responsibilities have significantly better laws to support a decent balance between work and family life.

The data also confirms that the gender wage gap, studied in detail in the two previous ITUC March 8 reports, remains a serious problem. The gap is much higher for women with children, at 32% in the sample of countries studied.

"At a time when the whole world is looking for solutions, it is more important than ever that we ensure women are equally involved in decision-making, and that the rights of half the world’s population are included," explained Diana Holland, chair, ITUC Women’s Committee.

“Households everywhere are being hit hard by the impact of the global jobs crisis, adding to the burden that social inequality imposes on women,” said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder.

The Decisions for Life project will feature on the ITUC website as from 8 March to show how trade unions are working for the empowerment at work and in society of young women in particular ( The website also features the efforts made by women trade unionists from all over the world since the launch of the Decent Work Decent Life for Women Campaign, including action to get countries to ratify ILO Convention 183 on Maternity Protection as well as to get better national law and practice on pay equity and on balancing family and work commitments.

To see the full report: An Examination of the Factors Influencing Women’s Decisions for Work, visit

The report is launched in connection to ITUC’s Decent Work, Decent Life for Women Campaign, which focuses this year on decisions of young women workers concerning rights at work, family planning and choice of work to balance work and family life.

The report will be officially launched at the International Trade Union House at an event 8 March, along with a new European Trade Union Confederation report “From Membership to Leadership: Advancing Women in Trade Unions” ( and a new report from the Education International “Equal Opportunities: Progress for All”