Women have always faced higher unemployment rates than men but the weakened job market during the global financial crisis has exemplified the problem, according to a new report by the U.N labour agency.
The Global Employment Trends for Women 2012, released last week, finds that while the gender gap in unemployment remained fixed at 0.5% from 2002 to 2007, in 2012 it rose to 0.7%. This year, the female unemployment rate hit 6.4%, compared with 5.7% for men.
With no quick recovery in sight, the International Labor Organisation has reported that the GFC has destroyed 13 million jobs for women.
UN Women executive director Michelle Bachelet told AP that women still face too many barriers in realising their economic potential.
"This is not only holding back women; it is holding back economic performance and growth," she said. "Guaranteeing equal opportunities for women and men is not just the right thing to do, it's smart economics."
"It's not only about glass ceilings, it is also about leaking pipelines" Bachelet said.