Data

Ratio of female to male labor force participation rates

What you should know about this indicator

Labor force participation rate is the proportion of the population ages 15 and older that is economically active: all people who supply labor for the production of goods and services during a specified period. Ratio of female to male labor force participation rate is calculated by dividing female labor force participation rate by male labor force participation rate and multiplying by 100.

Limitations and exceptions: Data on the labor force are compiled by the ILO from labor force surveys, censuses, and establishment censuses and surveys. For some countries a combination of these sources is used. Labor force surveys are the most comprehensive source for internationally comparable labor force data. They can cover all non-institutionalized civilians, all branches and sectors of the economy, and all categories of workers, including people holding multiple jobs. By contrast, labor force data from population censuses are often based on a limited number of questions on the economic characteristics of individuals, with little scope to probe. The resulting data often differ from labor force survey data and vary considerably by country, depending on the census scope and coverage. Establishment censuses and surveys provide data only on the employed population, not unemployed workers, workers in small establishments, or workers in the informal sector.

The reference period of a census or survey is another important source of differences: in some countries data refer to people's status on the day of the census or survey or during a specific period before the inquiry date, while in others data are recorded without reference to any period. In countries, where the household is the basic unit of production and all members contribute to output, but some at low intensity or irregularly, the estimated labor force may be much smaller than the numbers actually working.

Differing definitions of employment age also affect comparability. For most countries the working age is 15 and older, but in some countries children younger than 15 work full- or part-time and are included in the estimates. Similarly, some countries have an upper age limit. As a result, calculations may systematically over- or underestimate actual rates.

Statistical concept and methodology: The labor force is the supply of labor available for producing goods and services in an economy. It includes people who are currently employed and people who are unemployed but seeking work as well as first-time job-seekers. Not everyone who works is included, however. Unpaid workers, family workers, and students are often omitted, and some countries do not count members of the armed forces. Labor force size tends to vary during the year as seasonal workers enter and leave.

The series is part of the "ILO modeled estimates database," including nationally reported observations and imputed data for countries with missing data, primarily to capture regional and global trends with consistent country coverage. Country-reported microdata is based mainly on nationally representative labor force surveys, with other sources (e.g., household surveys and population censuses) considering differences in the data source, the scope of coverage, methodology, and other country-specific factors. Country analysis requires caution where limited nationally reported data are available. A series of models are also applied to impute missing observations and make projections. However, imputed observations are not based on national data, are subject to high uncertainty, and should not be used for country comparisons or rankings. For more information: https://ilostat.ilo.org/resources/concepts-and-definitions/ilo-modelled-estimates/

Notes from original source: Given the exceptional situation, including the scarcity of relevant data, the ILO modeled estimates and projections from 2020 onwards are subject to substantial uncertainty.

Source
Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024) – processed by Our World in Data
Last updated
May 20, 2024
Next expected update
May 2025
Date range
1991–2022
Unit
modeled ILO estimate

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

The World Development Indicators (WDI) is the primary World Bank collection of development indicators, compiled from officially-recognized international sources. It presents the most current and accurate global development data available, and includes national, regional and global estimates.

Retrieved on
May 20, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
World Bank's World Development Indicators (WDI).

How we process data at Our World in Data

All data and visualizations on Our World in Data rely on data sourced from one or several original data providers. Preparing this original data involves several processing steps. Depending on the data, this can include standardizing country names and world region definitions, converting units, calculating derived indicators such as per capita measures, as well as adding or adapting metadata such as the name or the description given to an indicator.

At the link below you can find a detailed description of the structure of our data pipeline, including links to all the code used to prepare data across Our World in Data.

Read about our data pipeline

Reuse this work

  • All data produced by third-party providers and made available by Our World in Data are subject to the license terms from the original providers. Our work would not be possible without the data providers we rely on, so we ask you to always cite them appropriately (see below). This is crucial to allow data providers to continue doing their work, enhancing, maintaining and updating valuable data.
  • All data, visualizations, and code produced by Our World in Data are completely open access under the Creative Commons BY license. You have the permission to use, distribute, and reproduce these in any medium, provided the source and authors are credited.

Citations

How to cite this page

To cite this page overall, including any descriptions, FAQs or explanations of the data authored by Our World in Data, please use the following citation:

“Data Page: Ratio of female to male labor force participation rates”. Our World in Data (2024). Data adapted from World Bank based on data from International Labour Organization. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/ratio-of-female-to-male-labor-force-participation-rates-ilo-wdi [online resource]
How to cite this data

In-line citationIf you have limited space (e.g. in data visualizations), you can use this abbreviated in-line citation:

Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024) – processed by Our World in Data

Full citation

Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024) – processed by Our World in Data. “Ratio of female to male labor force participation rates” [dataset]. World Bank based on data from International Labour Organization, “World Development Indicators” [original data]. Retrieved July 16, 2024 from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/ratio-of-female-to-male-labor-force-participation-rates-ilo-wdi