Women are paid almost half the wages compared to their male counterparts, according to International Labour Organisation (ILO) report.
"In Nepal, male-female inequality in wages is among the highest (40.5 per cent) but among the lowest when it comes to labour force participation (7.4 percentage points)," said the Asia-Pacific Labour Market Update published by the ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific today.
Whereas in Sri Lanka, the situation seems reversed; although the wage gap is relatively low at 10.7 per cent, the difference in male-female labour force participation rates is a striking 34 percentage points.
Progress on tackling persistent gender equalities must also not be lost, it daid, adding that the region's informal economy remains massive. Extending affordable social protection can help create resilience, reduce poverty, boost domestic consumption and strengthen social stability, while preparing for tomorrow's ageing workforce.
The region must not lose the economic and social gains it has made, it said,"Policy makers must base their strategies to reinvigorate economic growth on job creation, social inclusion and better regional integration."
Young people require particular attention; youth unemployment is disproportionately high, yet renewed economic growth will depend on their skills, drive and talent for innovation. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the region's main engine of job creation and it will be critical to unlock their potential with properly designed finance and support services.
Green jobs and industries are one area of opportunity – leveraging the shift towards a low-carbon, sustainable development path.
The report revelaed that the quality of jobs is also tied to wages and earnings, and strong labour market institutions are critical to this end. Among a sample of Asian developing countries where data are available, annual average real wage growth lagged behind productivity growth in a majority during the past decade, the report said.
"Decent work therefore sums up the aspirations all people have for their working lives; for work that is productive, delivers a fair income with security and social protection, safeguards basic rights, offers equality of opportunity and treatment, prospects for personal development and the chance for recognition and to have your voice heard," it said, adding that decent work is also central to efforts to reduce poverty and is a path to achieving equitable, inclusive and sustainable development.
Respect for rights and constructive dialogue — between government, workers and employers — must be supported with the same diligence as maintaining low inflation, balanced public finances and other macroeconomic goals.
Quality employment, underpinned by productivity growth, fair wages and decent working conditions, determines the quality of lives and societies and is key to Asia's future growth and prosperity.
The policy-makers from governments, employers’ and workers’ organisations have an opportunity to brainstorm on the issues during the ILO 15th Asia and the Pacific regional meeting which is taking place in Kyoto, Japan, on December 4-7.
Delegations from more than 40 member States, from Asia, the Pacific and the Arab States of West Asia, will discuss ways of creating a more balanced, just, sustainable future for the world of work.
Ultimately decent work underpins peace and security in communities and societies. 'Decent Work for All' is therefore the principle that guides the ILO’s work. To promote the goal the ILO’s Asia Pacific members have committed themselves to an Asian Decent Work Decade (2006-2015), and in doing so reaffirmed their commitment to achieving full, productive and decent employment for all their people by 2015.
However, the global outlook is increasingly uncertain. Asia will not be immune from turbulence and weak demand. While the region's economic performance remains positive – in some countries impressively so – there are signs of slowing growth, with economic and social vulnerabilities appearing in both industrialised and developing Asia.