Women more educated, less employed, research finds

New data has revealed that while women in Samoa have higher literacy rates than men, they hold fewer jobs. 

The survey fact sheet was recently released by the Samoa Bureau of Statistics containing the preliminary results of the Samoa Demographic and Health Survey-Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (D.H.S-M.I.C.S.) 2019-20.

The survey’s sample was drawn from interviews with more than 4500 women, 1200 men and 1200 households. 

It was statistically weighted and randomised to reflect conditions across four main areas of urban Apia’, north-west and south Upolu and Savai’i.

Unlike most developing countries, where women face a literacy disadvantage, the Samoa D.H.S.-M.I.C.S. showed that more Samoan women aged between 15 to 24 were more literate than men.

Literacy rate for women stood at 99.1 per cent, the survey found, some three percentage points higher than their male counterparts. 

However, when it came to employment, far more men than women were currently in employment.

Currently employed men constituted up to 54 per cent of the surveyed population; a total of 31 per cent  of them were listed as unemployed. 

By contrast only 22 per cent of women are currently employed with a considerable 63 per cent telling researchers they were currently out of work.

The gender employment gap also exists in spite of women aged between 15 to 49 years old possessing a higher level of Information and Communication Technology skills and having used a computer during the last three months.

But more men owned a mobile phone than women, the research found. More men also used the internet during the last three months or at least once a week during the last three months.

Last year, the Bureau reported that 56.6 per cent of the estimated population workers are men and they earn 54.5 per cent of total wages.

But in terms of quarterly average wages, women are earning more than men with an average $6,020 while men earn an average $5,496.

Fewer industries employ more women than men according to the Bureau's report. 

Those that do include public administration, finance, health and education do. But construction, fishing, agriculture, electricity, water, transport, food manufacturing, other manufacturing, other business services, communication and commerce all employ more male workers.

The statistical analysis also found that the new data also revealed that more men smoke than women.

The publication is the first of a series of reports to be published by the Samoa Bureau of Statistics and The United Nations Children's Fund (U.N.I.C.E.F.) from the dataset of the D.H.S.-M.I.C.S., 2019-20. The statistics bureau describes the M.I.C.S. data as the “largest source of statistically sound and internationally comparable data on women and children worldwide”.

Some 35 per cent of men from ages 15 to 49 years smoked cigarettes or used to smoke or used smokeless tobacco products at any time during the last month.

Meanwhile, only 12.5 per cent of women used tobacco or smokeless tobacco product in the same time period.

Similarly, 7.2 per cent of men in the studied population smoked a whole cigarette before the age of 15, while only 1.2 per cent of women touched a cigarette before turning 15-years-old.

A similar trend was observed for the use of alcohol.

While more than 30 per cent of the men in the survey were recorded to have had at least one alcoholic drink at any time during the last one month, fewer than five per cent of women had consumed alcohol over the same period. 


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