Women off lineWomen have generally lower shares than men in specialised employment in information and communications technology, a recently published OECD report shows.In most OECD countries, women account for between 30% and 50% of employees in occupations that use IT. However, of these occupations, women tend to have much higher shares of traditional office and secretarial positions, and lower shares in scientific and professional ones. The female share of these traditional occupations is greater than 60% in all OECD countries and just over 90% in Finland and Poland. Female IT specialists account for between 10% and 20% in all OECD countries, except for Hungary and the US where the share lies at a little over 25%.In terms of general IT access, women tend to lag behind men. These gaps are generally declining, though they remain large in older age groups. In 2005, male access to IT was at least 5% greater than women in more than half of the 23 OECD countries for which data was available. Only in Finland, the US and Ireland did women have greater access than men.The report also highlights differences in online activities: women frequently use the Internet for shopping and health-related searches, whereas men tend to focus on entertainment and banking.
- OECD (2007), “ICTs and Gender”, March, available under documents at www.oecd.org/ict or by request at email@example.com
Broader fasterBroadband subscribers leapt by over a quarter in the OECD, latest figures show. The rise to 197 million in December 2006 from 157 million subscribers in December 2005 also led to an increase in OECD broadband penetration rates, which grew from 13.5 to 16.9 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants during the same period.Denmark and the Netherlands were the first countries in the OECD to surpass 30 subscribers per 100 inhabitants. These were followed by Iceland, Korea, Switzerland, Finland, Norway and Sweden, each with between 26 and 30 subscribers per 100 inhabitants.Strong subscriber growth per capita was seen in New Zealand, Norway and Ireland, with each country adding almost 6 new subscribers per 100 inhabitants during the past year.At 58.1 million, the US has the largest total number of broadband subscribers in the OECD. US broadband subscribers now represent 29% of all broadband connections in the OECD. Japan had 26 million broadband subscribers and Germany had 14.1 million, the highest in Europe.
EconomyIn the OECD area, consumer prices rose by 2.1% in the year to February 2007, compared with 1.9% in the year to January 2007. On a monthly basis, the price level increased by 0.3% in February 2007, after a 0.2% rise between December 2006 and January 2007. Euro area inflation was up by 1.9% in the year to February, while in the US, the consumer price index rose by 2.4% over the twelve months to February, after 2.1% in January. Japan’s consumer prices were down by 0.2% in February over a year earlier.Consumer prices for energy rose by 0.8% year-on-year in February, after showing no change in the year to January.At 5.7% in February 2007, the standardised unemployment rate for the OECD area remained unchanged from the previous month, a 0.5% drop from a year earlier.For the Euro area, the standardised unemployment rate was 7.3% in February 2007, while the US’s rate for February 2007 was 4.5%, 0.3 percentage points lower than a year earlier. For Japan, the rate was 4% in February 2007, the same as the previous month and 0.1 percentage point lower than in February 2006.Meanwhile, in trade, the G7 countries experienced a slight, seasonally-adjusted 1% growth in goods trade volume in the fourth quarter of 2006, compared with the previous quarter. Import volume growth continued to shrink, falling 0.1%. G7 trade volumes continued to grow on a year-on-year basis, but at lower rates, with exports 5.9% higher and imports up 3.6%.At 2.5%, the US yielded a growth well above the G7 average for quarter-on-quarter trade exports, while imports declined by 1.0% for the first time in two years.