Black women earn almost as much but have a higher unemployment rate than their male counterparts, while the opposite is true for whites.

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said this in releasing its Gender Statistics in South Africa report yesterday.

In key areas like education, access to services and medical aid, employment and income, women are worse off than men.

“While the country has a progressive constitution on equality, there are underlying practices that are persistent,” said Statistician-General Pali Lehohla.

Women of all races aged between 15 and 64 have higher unemployment rates than men in the same age bracket, with black women having the worst unemployment rate of 32.5 percent.

Black women are also the only group who have a higher unemployment rate than in 2001.

However, they earn just R2 less than black men on average an hour, compared with the R28 difference in the white population group.

Black men earn R25 an hour on average, while white men earn R92.

Traditionally male-dominated industries such as mining, construction and transport remain a boys’ club, with a quarter of the entire male workforce being employed in one of these sectors, compared with just 5 percent of employed women.

“There’s a lot that needs to be done, boardrooms are still male-dominated,” Lehohla said.

In some areas, such as in managerial posts, there had been improvements.

“In 2001, 20 percent of managers were female, but now it’s 30 percent, which is an improvement, but we are still not there,” said Stats SA household labour statistician Peter Buwembo.

One in three women lives below the poverty line with an income of R305 or less, while 31 percent of men live below this line.

The higher figures of women below the poverty line was a result of an increase in female-headed households, said Stats SA deputy director-general Kefiloe Masiteng.

She said the reason for the increase was that women were more likely to be expected to look after orphans or relatives and so become the head of the household.

Although women across all race groups had less education than men, the trend was starting to change. - The Pretoria News