A new UN labour agency report on global employment trends shows that poverty has been "dramatically reduced" in the South Asia region, especially in India.
The Annual Global Employment Trends released by the International Labour Office (ILO), however, said that "even though working poverty has been dramatically reduced in the region - especially in India - at 87.2 per cent, the working poor rates at less than two dollars a day are still very high."
The report said the number of people unemployed worldwide remained at a historic high in 2006 despite strong global economic growth.
The South Asia region, dominated by India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan, saw significant discrepancy between the number of men and women out of work.
The male unemployment rate in 2006 was 4.9 per cent, up from 4.2 per cent in 1996, while the rate for women stood at 6.2 per cent, up from 4.9 per cent.
In South Asia, the report reveals a growing gap between the situation of working women and men. Only 36 per cent of working age women are actively engaged in the labour market, compared to 82.2 per cent of men.
This is the second largest gender participation gap in the world, behind only the Middle East and North Africa - although there the gap has been narrowing much faster during the last decade.
Moreover, those women in South Asia who are in the labour force are more likely to be unemployed than their male counterparts, and the gap is widening.