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Women's participation in the labor force in most countries around the world has increased over recent decades. However, despite their increasing presence in the workplace, women continue to hit glass ceilings and glass walls that prevent their equal participation in decision-making positions in the private sector and in public administration. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a global comparison of women in the labor force, with a specific focus on the public sector workforce, and to identify innovative solutions to address the continuing gender gap. The chapter begins with an overview of the issue. The next two sections present an historical perspective of women in the workforce in the US and globally. This is followed by a discussion of legislative initiatives that have been taken to improve access to women seeking to participate in the labor force. The chapter concludes with a look at innovative approaches adopted to break down workplace barriers to women.


This work was originally published in "Governing in a Global World: Women in Public Service," edited by Maria J. D'Agostino and Marilyn Marks Rubin.



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