From: Alice Taylor
Albania’s Employment Gender Gap Continues to Expand

A significant gender gap exists in the Albanian labour market, according to data published for 2020 by INSTAT.

Last year, the employment rate decreased for both sexes from 2019, but the gap between women and men increased. This means that more people were out of work in 2020 than in 2019, but women are worse off overall.

This could be due to various factors. As the primary carers for children in Albanian society, women would have remained at home during the pandemic when schools were closed. It could also be due to women being employed in shops, either temporarily or permanently closed during the year.

Nevertheless, the gender gap of 14.2 percentage points should signal the government to help more women take up or return to work.

Another sex discrepancy was observed in the area of agricultural work. 27% of working women are unpaid family workers on farms. This is a stark contrast to the 15.5% of men. While this has reduced slightly from 2019, it highlights the society-wide issue of women taking on the lion’s share of unpaid work.

In terms of unemployment, throughout 2020, it rose by 0.2%. This seems low in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it doesn’t account for thousands that work in the informal economy. 

Another concerning statistic in the report is the 27.9%, over a quarter of youth are not in employment, education, or training. This demonstrates a significant portion of the population with no income or further education. Policymakers should sit up and note this and work to encourage vocational training and employment schemes for youth.

In 2019, this figure was 25.5%, showing that the situation is getting worse, not better.

Last year, Albania published its first Gender Gap Index, providing concerning indicators regarding the imbalance between male and female roles in work, education, free time, power, and health.

The overall score for Albania was 60.4 out of a possible 100 points, indicating a concerning gender gap and placing it seven points below the EU average. 

Women fared worst in terms of their time. The report found that women have  “very unbalanced responsibilities regarding care for family members and unpaid household work”. It also noted that while women carry most of the responsibilities, they do not participate in social activities as much as men despite being “important for their well-being and quality of life”.

The second poorest result was for money, where findings showed that they earned significantly less than men, despite working longer hours and being more educated.

In April, the World Economic Forum published its Global Gender Gap Index 2021, which showed that women were worse off in 2020 than in 2019.

It ranked 35th globally for women’s opportunity to engage in business, 42nd for education attainment, 30th for political empowerment,

Albania held one of the worst positions in the world for the health and survival of women, at number 147. This was due to high maternal mortality rates of 15 per 100,000 live births, the prevalence of gender-based violence, and a lack of comprehensive antenatal care.

The report found that Albania has closed 30% of the gender gap, but much work is still done. It falls behind the regional average of 73.5% of the gap closed. The country lost 8.2% percentage points for gender parity in the employment of professional and technical female workers.

The report’s authors stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has “has raised new barriers to build inclusive and prosperous economies and societies. Pre-existing gender gaps have amplified the crisis asymmetrically between men and women, even as women have been at the frontlines of managing the crisis as essential workers.” This was further exacerbated by them taking on the overwhelming majority of domestic work, therefore halting progress towards gender parity.