Women in Mongolia face a “double burden” that limits their participation in the labor market and affects their ability to pursue high-skilled jobs. Women’s lower labor market participation can be attributed to their disproportionate responsibility for unpaid domestic and caregiving work, gender segregation in higher-paying occupations, earlier retirement age for women, and deep-rooted social norms and gender stereotypes. Working women in Mongolia spend approximately three times more on caregiving duties and household chores than working men, and account for 75.9% of non-paid work in family-owned businesses.
Despite having higher educational attainment than men, Mongolian women are less likely to be active in the labor market and earn less than men on average. As of 2019, the labor force participation rate for women with master- or bachelor-level degrees was 17.1 and 16.8 percentage points lower than for men, respectively, and the national average monthly wage was 19.7% higher for men than for women.
In 2019, only 53.4% of working-age women in Mongolia were participating in the labor market, compared to 68.3% of men. The Asian Development Bank estimates show that eliminating gender inequality in Mongolia could increase the female labor force participation rate to 63.2%, which would boost Mongolia’s annual per capita growth rate by 0.5 percentage points. Other countries’ experience show that the female labor force participation rate increases when the time spent on unpaid care work is reduced and shared more equally with men, and when workplace practices and norms are more compatible with gender equality and family-friendly cultures.