Taiwan's gender gap in labor participation narrows

Taiwan is closing the gender gap.

Taiwan is closing the gender gap. (By Central News Agency)

The gap in the labor participation rate between men and women in Taiwan has narrowed in the past decade at a time when more and more women are jumping into the job market, according to the Ministry of Labor (MOL).

Data compiled by the MOL showed the labor participation rate among male workers stood at 67.13 percent in 2017, down 0.11 percentage points from 2007, while the percentage of women working was 50.92 percent, up 1.48 percentage points from 2007.

In 2017, 6.56 million men jumped into the local job market, while 5.23 million female workers entered the workforce, the data indicated.

The figures translated into a difference of 16.21 percentage points in the labor participation ratios between male and female workers, down from 17.80 percentages in 2007.

In terms of education levels, the MOL said, 57.07 percent of those female employees who were employed in 2017 held a bachelor's degree or higher, while only 45.01 percent of male employees did.

According to the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS), the labor participation rate is a ratio of the workforce at age 15 or older to the total population in that age category.

The MOL's data showed Taiwan's female labor participation rate for 2017 trailed behind the United States's 57.0 percent, South Korea's 52.7 percent and Japan's 51.1 percent.

The data indicated the gender gap in Taiwan's labor participation rate was higher than the 12.1 percentage points in the U.S., but lower than Japan's 19.4 percentage points and South Korea's 21.4 percentage points.

The MOI said the growth in female labor participation rate in the 25-44 age group was the highest among all of the age groups.

It said the female labor participation rate in that age group hit 81.24 percent in 2017, up 7.26 percentage points from 2007, while the male labor participation rate in the same age group was 95.50 percent in 2017, up 2.51 percentage points from 10 years ago.

Meanwhile, the female labor participation rate for the age group of 25-29 hit 89.7 percent in Taiwan in 2017, higher than the ratios in the U.S., Japan and South Korea, the data showed.

Taiwan's female labor participation rate for the age group of 35-49 topped 73 percent, similar to the U.S.'s and Japan's but higher than South Korea's, the MOL said.

However, the labor participation ratio for female workers above 50 fell sharply in Taiwan, with only 4.1 percent of women in the age of 65 or older group working, much lower than South Korea's 24.1 percent, Japan's 16.0 percent and the U.S.'s 15.7 percent.

The ministry said the fall reflected society's expectations that women should shoulder the burden of caring for elderly family members and children also make it difficult for women to carry on with their careers in their middle age.

The ministry said the figure showed the market for senior female workers has great potential for development. (By Yu Hsiao-han and Frances Huang)