Gender Equality in the World of Work

This Norwegian funded project aims to achieve, amongst other means: strengthening systems for providing sex-disaggregated data in areas related to discrimination, labour market participation rates, childcare and dependant care provision, mapping policy options to help promote formalization of women workers in the informal economy, supporting efforts for more effective policy development for specific vulnerable groups of women, e.g. indigenous women, and sharing tools and lessons from the five target countries through ILO’s Global Gender Network.

Equality for women and men in the world of work is a core value of ILO. Its four strategic objectives of employment, social protection, social dialogue and tri-partism and fundamental principles and rights at work are inseparable, interrelated and mutually supportive and gender equality must be considered cross-cutting in these issues. The 2009 International Labour Conference, in the Conclusions from the discussion on gender equality at the heart of decent work, reaffirmed ILO’s commitments to equality between women and men in the world of work as espoused by the 2008 Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalisation. The Conclusions take particular cognisance of the impact of the global financial and economic crisis on the working lives of women and men and the need to ensure that the crises should not be used as a reason to create even greater inequalities nor undermine women’s acquired rights.

An inter-regional project with Norwegian funding has been designed to support constituents in these efforts in the five countries of Angola, Brazil, China, India and South Africa..

India’s 11th Plan recognizes women not just as equal citizens but also as agents of socio-economic development and suggests a multi-pronged agenda for gender equity. The draft national employment policy has a specific chapter on women workers which suggests measures to create more opportunities for gainful employment for women and increase their productivity in work. The ILO has a regional outcome on “increased knowledge and capacity of the constituents to influence policy change that advances gender equality, particularly in pay and in access to productive entrepreneurship, finance, and markets” and India’s DWCP prioritises decent and productive employment for women and men. In view of the priorities of the 11th development plan and ILO’s outcomes the India component of the project will be working towards the formulation of policies in support of equal employment opportunities and enhancing opportunities for decent and productive employment for women, combining policy advocacy and direct action. Building on existing ILO work it will particularly focus on;

  • Strengthening and developing institutional mechanisms to promote gender equality in the world of work particularly through social dialogue mechanisms, which will formulate and act on women workers’ concerns both in the formal and informal sectors. This will entail:
  • Work with trade unions on strengthening gender equality structures at various levels (such as union women’s committees and women’s wings); and
  • Work with employers’ organizations in the formal sectors to implement gender policies at the workplace.
  • Strengthening ILO methodologies to address specific vulnerabilities of women workers through pilot action. This will entail:
  • ILO and Ministry of Labour and Employment collaboration on Skills Development Initiative for informal workers. The project will intensify work on gender sensitisation, addressing equal remuneration and enhancing productivity by addressing women’s family responsibilities; and
  • Women workers in rural livelihoods in Bihar, an UNDAF priority state. The project will take stock of research findings on the gender impact of the public programmes in Bihar over the last decade and contribute to the ILO’s work in the State for enhanced productivity of women workers.