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40   Worldwide, the share of women in non- agricultural paid employment increased to 40 per cent in 2009, up from 35 per cent in 1990.

Millennium Development Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

Target 3A: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015


Indicator 3.2: Share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector


Worldwide, the share of women in non-agricultural paid employment increased from 35 per cent in 1990 to almost 40 per cent in 2009. Progress has slowed in recent years, however, due to the financial and economic crisis of 2008-2009.

Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa saw the greatest improvement, though the proportion of women in paid employment in the former region remains below 20 per cent. In Sub-Saharan Africa, progress is undermined to some extent by the fact that non-agricultural wage employment represents only a minor share of employment for both women and men, who tend to work in jobs that lack financial security and social benefits.

The situation in Northern Africa has remained practically unchanged since 1990. In that region as well as in Western Asia, fewer than one in five paid jobs outside the agricultural sector are held by women.

Source: The Millennium Development Goals Report 2011

Reference:, p. 21