Stats SA: Women are more likely to do unpaid work than men

Stats SA said the rate of unemployment among women was 36.8% in the second quarter of 2021 compared to 32.4% amongst men. That’s according to the official definition of unemployment.

FILE: But for most women, the picture is much bleaker than for men. Picture: 123rf.com

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - - Statistics South Africa said men were more likely to be in paid employment than women, regardless of their race, while women are more likely to do unpaid work.

These are among the findings of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the second quarter of 2021 released by Stats SA on Tuesday.

The survey shows that between the first and second quarter of 2021, the official unemployment rate increased by 1.8% to a record 34.4% in terms of the expanded definition, the unemployment rate hit 44%.

READ: SA unemployment rate increases to 34.4% in Q2 of 2021 - Stats SA

But for most women, the picture is much bleaker than for men.

Stats SA said the rate of unemployment among women was 36.8% in the second quarter of 2021 compared to 32.4% amongst men. That’s according to the official definition of unemployment.

Stats SA said the unemployment rate among black African women was 41% during this period compared to only 8.2% among white women, 22.4% among Indian or Asian women and 29.9% among coloured women.

According to the expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have given up seeking work, the rate of unemployment among women, at 48.7%, was 8.1 percentage points higher than among their male counterparts in the second quarter of 2021.

Statistician General Risenga Maluleke broke down the numbers of the expended definition of unemployment explaining that the figure reached 44. 4% in the second quarter.

“Now when you take the 7.8 million people plus the 3.3 million discouraged work seekers, plus another 800,000 people who didn’t look for employment but would have taken up employment had it been available, we come to 11.9 million people from what we call the expanded definition at the rate of 44.4%.”

Maluleke said industries such as construction and agriculture slightly contributed to the creation of jobs in the same quarter.

“The agriculture is seasonal; these are people that were needed for harvesting. So, as we head into winter, construction jobs come and go and for the first time in a long time, construction has created jobs.”

The Eastern Cape has recorded the highest official and expanded unemployment rates standing at 47.1% and 53% respectively.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said that the latest unemployment figures should be a massive wake-up call for the government.

DA MP Michael Cardo, the party’s spokesperson on employment and labour, said: “The fact that the expanded unemployment rate now stands at an all-time high of 44%, according to today’s quarterly labour force survey, suggests a runaway train destined for disaster.”

Cardo said government’s efforts should focus on enabling the private sector to create jobs. He said the fact that almost 12 million South Africans do not have a job was mind-blowing.

“The government urgently needs to make labour-absorbing job creation South Africa’s number one policy priority, because a job is the best guarantee of social security.”

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