Important steps have already been taken in OECD countries to combat gender inequality but significant disparities remain in educational and occupational choices. The OECD Gender Initiative monitors the progress made on gender equality, through data and analysis, and provides best practices for achieving greater equality (see our flyer). Our work includes the following areas:


  • Youth in Transition compares data from OECD/PISA (the Programme for International Student Assessment) and OECD/PIAAC (the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies) and discusses gender disparities in literacy and numeracy proficiency between the ages of 15 and 27 and the implications for policy and practice.
  • What kind of careers in science do 15-year-old boys and girls expect for themselves? This 2017 brief reports on the OECD PISA survey asking students about the occupation they expect to be working in when they are 30 years old.

  • This 2017 OECD study on basis of PISA 2015 Results (Volume III) Students' Well-Being explores a comprehensive set of well-being indicators for adolescents by gender that covers both negative outcomes (e.g. anxiety, low performance) and the positive impulses that promote healthy development (e.g. interest, engagement, motivation to achieve).
  • This 2017 OECD study on basis of PISA 2015 Results (Volume V) looks at how good students are at Collaborative Problem Solving, and also explores the role of education in building young people’s skills in solving problems collaboratively. Amongst many other results, the study finds that girls outperform boys in every country, both before and after considering their performance in science, reading and mathematics.

Employment and work-life balance

  • The Pursuit of Gender Equality: An Uphill Battle provides a detailed assessment on whether and/or how countries are making progress towards gender equality. “The Pursuit” includes 25 short chapters on a wide range of gender equality issues, including violence against women, gender budgeting, STEM issues, family-friendly policies such as childcare, women in leadership positions, migration, entrepreneurship, migration, health, gender pay gaps and the unequal sharing of unpaid work. Each chapter of “the Pursuit” provides key findings, best practices and policy recommendations.
  • Is the Last Mile the Longest? Economic Gains from Gender Equality in Nordic Countries looks at how past improvements in gender equality in employment have contributed to economic growth in the Nordic countries, and how much more could be gained from closing gender gaps still further. Findings suggest that past increases in women’s headcount employment, in particular, have made large contributions to economic growth in the Nordics. It also finds that, while closing remaining gender participation gaps would have only a comparatively small effect on future growth, considerable gains could still be made by closing gender gaps in working hours.
  • Together with the ILO and Un Women, the OECD launched the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) during the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2017. EPIC is a multi-stakeholder coalition to contribute to the achievement of SDG target 8.5 focusing on equal pay between women and men for work of equal value.
  • The Policy brief Going Digital: The Future of Work for Women discusses the possible impact of digitalisation on women and men, and proposes a range of policies to ensure that technological change supports a closing, and not a widening, of gender gaps.
  • Work with the Nordic Council of Ministers is underway to further evidence the economic case for gender equality: It will consider past gains of increased gender equality in the labour market and consider potential future gains.
  • The OECD Employment Outlook 2018 will include a chapter on Barriers to Women’s career progression: “Starting Close, Ending Far: Why the gender gap in labour income increases over the working life”.
  • The OECD Economic Surveys of Countries include thematic chapters that are sometimes devoted to Gender issues. For example, the 2017 OECD Economic Survey of Sweden included an analysis on how to “fight gender inequality”, while the forthcoming 2018 Survey of Canada will consider increasing inclusiveness among under-represented groups in the economy such as women.


  • Country infographics on female entrepreneurship drawing on the findings of the Future of Business Survey, the joint monthly survey by Facebook, the OECD and the World Bank. Gender differences in entrepreneurship are presented in three policy relevant areas: the reasons to start a business, the sources of financing when starting up and the sources for continuous learning on how to manage a business. The infographics are available for 42 countries, including a large selection of OECD member and partners countries as well as several other emerging and developing economies.
  • Entrepreneurship at a Glance, 2017 presents indicators to monitor gender gaps in entrepreneurship, and new statistics on male and female run businesses in the digital economy as based on the Future of Business Survey

  • The Missing Entrepreneurs 2017 examines how public policies can support job creation, economic growth and social inclusion by overcoming obstacles to business start-ups and self-employment by people from under-represented groups in entrepreneurship, such as women.

  • The Management Gender in Business brief (January 2017) is based on the Future of Business Survey - joint product of Facebook the OECD and the World Bank, and presents findings on differences in entrepreneurial attitude and performance between female and male entrepreneurs in a large group of countries.

  • Policy brief on women’s entrepreneurship, published in 2017, examines the challenges that women face in business creation and the range of policy measures used to promote and support women in entrepreneurship.

Public governance

  • The OECD is providing implementation support to Colombia to enhance women’s political participation at local level, and improve access to justice with specific consideration on gender equality. The project is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency.
  • A Gender Equality Governance Review of Canada is scheduled for release over summer 2018. It will include a roadmap to help develop a “best practice” approach to gender-based analysis and budgeting in Canada.
  • A Gender Equality in Public Life Review of Indonesia is scheduled for release during spring 2018. Undertaken in partnership with the UNDP/Gender Equality in Public Employment Programme this review considers progress and remaining challenges, and the forward to achieve women’s equitable representation in public life and gender-sensitive employment policies in the public sector.
  • Work is underway on Making Gender Budgeting Work, a publication which will outline how a gender perspective can be embedded into Public Financial Management (PFM) frameworks to help deliver gender equality objectives. It will draw on country experiences to highlight the tools can be applied at different stages of the policy cycle and identify the elements which help sustain a more effective gender budgeting approach.

OECD Regional Initiatives on Governance and Competitiveness

  • Improving gender balance in corporate leadership roles is one of the pillars of the MENA-OECD Working Group on Corporate Governance. At its 12-13 December 2017 meeting in Rabat the group discussed a draft report “Gender Balance in Corporate Leadership: MENA” which will be published including policy recommendations mid-2018. The report features gender data and explores barriers for women to reach corporate boards and senior management positions as well as ways to boost their participation.
  • Breaking barriers: Towards equality between women and men in politics: High-level MENA Regional Conference held on 19-20 November 2017 in Cairo, Egypt. The conference featured the launch of the preliminary version of the OECD /National Council for Women (NCW) country study on women's political participation in Egypt.
  • The 2018 edition of the high-level MENA Regional Conference on women’s participation in Parliaments and policy-making will take place in Morocco in summer 2018.
  • The MENA Transition Fund project of the G7 Deauville partnership supports the efforts of Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia to maximise women’s integration in public life and the policy-making process. Upcoming activities include the training of women candidates running for the 6 May 2018 local elections in Tunisia and a study visit of female parliamentarians from Egypt, Jordan and Morocco to an OECD country.
  • Launch of a report by the OECD in partnership with the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) on Women’s access to decision-making in the public administration and in local elected councils in Tunisia in April 2018.

Corporate Governance


  • ‌The OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Network on Gender Equality, GENDERNET is the only international forum where experts from DAC development co-operation agencies and foreign ministries meet to define common approaches in support of gender equality and women’s rights. Each year GENDERNET publishes data for each individual DAC member on their aid in support of gender equality, as well as thematic analysis in topical areas of development co-operation.
  • The OECD has launched a Policy Dialogue on Women’s Economic Empowerment, which aims to provide data and guidance on how to recognize, reduce and redistribute women’s unpaid care and domestic work and allow women in developing countries to access economic opportunities.
  • The OECD Development Centre's  Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) measures discrimination against women in social institutions (formal and informal laws, social norms, and practices) across 160 countries. The next edition of the SIGI will be released in late 2018 and will include updated country files, an actualised Gender, Institutions and Development Database and new SIGI ranking, extend country coverage to 180 countries, new indicators and methodological revisions. See also recent SIGI publications:
  • Wikigender now includes a new strong focus on the SDGs, gender statistics and leading trends in gender and development. The online collaborative platform is also available in French, making it the only one of its kind for the Francophone community.

Financial Education


  • Preventive Ageing Unequally showed that unequal ageing is a major challenge for gender equality. Women spend more of their older years in poor health: at age 65, women’s life expectancy exceeds men’s by more than 3 years across 25 European OECD countries; yet men and women have almost the same healthy life expectancy at age 65. In addition, gender gaps in mental health persist into old age, with the proportion of 80+ showing depressive symptoms much higher among women.

  • Health at a Glance presents a wide range of indicators on gender differences in health, including in life expectancy, specific causes of death (including cardiovascular diseases and cancer), self-reported health status, smoking and obesity. Health at a Glance: Europe 2016 and Health at a Glance: Asia/Pacific 2016 are also available.
  • The Obesity Update showed that social disparities in obesity and overweight are stronger among women. For instance, obese women are more penalised on the job market – both in terms of job opportunities, but also wages.


  • The Policy Brief Going Digital: The Future of Work for Women discusses the possible impact of digitalisation on women and men, and proposes a range of policies to ensure that technological change supports a closing, and not a widening, of gender gaps. (July 2017)

  • The 2017 edition of the OECD Science, Technology and Industry (STI) Scoreboard shows how countries and firms are pushing ahead in developing new digital technologies, automating manufacturing, and ensuring that workers have the right skills for tomorrow’s jobs. It includes indicators disaggregated by gender.


  • Taxation and Skills focuses on the financial incentives for men and women to invest in skills over the lifecycle, and on how tax systems can do more to encourage skills investment.


  • How’s Life? 2017 presents the latest evidence in both current well-being outcomes and resources for future well-being in 35 OECD countries and 6 partner countries. This fourth edition highlights the many faces of inequality, showing that gaps in people’s achievements and opportunities extend right across the different dimensions of well-being. It exposes divisions according to age, gender, and education, and reveals pockets of inequality in all OECD countries.

  • The OECD Better Life Index integrates information on gender inequality across its twelve domains of well-being.