Braunstein, E. (2021). Gender and the future of industrialization in a post-pandemic world. United Nations Industrial Development Organization. 


This background paper uses gender as a lens into assessing the social inclusion of both
industrialization and globalization, as well as the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and
prospects for building forward better. It provides a theoretical and empirical overview of women’s
industrial employment in the context of development since the early 1990s, highlighting women’s
increasing exclusion from industrial sector employment even as their participation in paid
employment has increased. Using pandemic-contemporary, gender-disaggregated data from
UNIDO, the ILO and World Bank Enterprise Surveys, the paper then reviews changes in labour
force participation, employment rates, industrial job growth, and changes in employment among
manufacturing firms. We find that women’s labour-force participation and employment have
fallen farther and are slower to recover than men’s, offering the troubling possibility of the longer term reversal of gains in gender equality in the labour market. Despite women’s concentration in trade-related manufacturing industries, which have been harder hit than other industries by the pandemic, we find that these industries have been less impacted in terms of women’s employment losses when compared to the economy as a whole. At the same time, within manufacturing, women face greater risks of job loss than men, particularly in firms where women constitute a majority of the full-time workforce. In light of these findings, the paper concludes with recommendations for gender-inclusive industrial policy.

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