SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth

Click on the box to break down a country’s score and enable country comparisons on the SDG Gender Index by SDG and by the indicators.

$12 trillion

could be added to the global GDP by 2025 as a result of greater equality for women.


of women in non-agricultural jobs are in informal employment in South Asia.


of women in Latin America and the Caribbean are in informal employment

SDG 8 and Decent Work and Economic Growth

Women’s access to decent work and to incomes not only improves their agency over their own lives, but can also reduce poverty and maternal mortality, and improve health, nutrition and educational outcomes for women and their families.

Advancing women’s equality to close existing economic and social gender gaps could boost global GDP by $12 trillion – or 11% – by 2025 if every country matched the progress of the fastest-improving country in their region.

Gender equality in employment gives women more decision-making power and enhances family well-being: they will typically invest more of their income than men in the health, nutrition and education of their children.

National evidence from Brazil, China, India, South Africa and the UK also demonstrates that women’s ability to earn and take part in financial decisions increases families’ resilience to economic shocks.

Yet labour inequalities are pervasive, with women often facing legal and social hurdles around the types of jobs available to them and their ability to own and use land – also an issue for SDG 1.

Meanwhile, they do twice as much unpaid work as men. Women in developing countries are more likely than men to work in informal, poorly paid or unsafe jobs. SDG target 8.8 on labour rights recognizes the risks of exploitation, trafficking and forced labour, while target 8.7 aims to eradicate such violations, which affect more than 40 million people mostly girls and women – undermining global development and stability.

Nina Robinson / The Verbatim Agency / Getty Images, Equal Measures 2030
Nina Robinson / The Verbatim Agency / Getty Images

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Key findings from the SDG Gender Index

  • Vulnerable employment:

    Around the world, women disproportionately work in vulnerable roles within the informal economy. Indonesia had the highest ratio of women to men recognized as “contributing family workers” in 2017, reflecting that vulnerable employment (often unpaid) makes up a much higher proportion of employment for women than it does men.

  • Workplace equality:

    The job choices for a staggering 2.7 billion women worldwide are legally restricted. Among the focus countries, Kenya receives the highest score for laws mandating women’s economic equality. Colombia, El Salvador and Senegal perform poorly in terms of laws protecting women’s rights in the workplace.

Gender Equality Issues Without Sufficient Global Data

Here we highlight the ‘missing’ critical gender equality issues that we weren’t able to include in the Index due to insufficient globally comparable data. These ‘missing’ issues can help form part of an advocacy agenda calling for more and better gender data, contributing to existing calls for gaps in gender data to be filled.

Mandatory paid parental leave policies (including ‘use it or lose it’ paid paternity leave)

Level of national compliance with labour rights (freedom of association and collective bargaining) (by sex)

Gender-based violence in and around the workplace


Equal Measures 2030 Partners