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International Labour Organization: Women At Work

On International Women's Day, March 8, 2016, the International Labour Organization, a United Nations agency based in Geneva, published the "Women At Work" report as a part of their Women At Work Centenary Initiative. The report highlights the enormous challenges women continue to face in seeking and keeping decent employment around the world.

The report examined data for up to 178 countries. It reveals that gender employment and wage gaps persist across a wide spectrum of the global labor market. Unemployment gender gaps remain high, especially for young women. Women remain overrepresented as contributing family workers or in other informal work arrangements, denying them access to social protection acquired through employment such as pensions, unemployment benefits or maternity protection.

Women continue to suffer from significant wage gaps. In developed countries women are more concentrated in under-valued and under-paid occupations as clerical, service and sales workers. In developing and low income economies, women are overrepresented in time and labor -intensive agricultural activities.

The report concludes that main policy interventions and good practices that are taking place throughout the world to address gender employment and wage gaps are in line with the International Labour Organization. These are outlined below.

Tackling the root causes of sectoral and occupational segregation

  • Encouraging young girls and boys to break gender stereotypes through education and outreach
  • Offering training to women and men to enter into non-stereotypical fields
  • Promoting women's entrepreneurship
  • Supporting women's participation and leadership in decision making including in governments, employments, employers' and workers' organizations

Addressing the gender wage gap

  • Eliminating unequal treatment of men and women in the labor market
  • Promoting equal pay for work of equal value through wage transparency, training and gender neutral job evaluations methods
  • Supporting adequate and inclusive minimum wages and strengthening collective bargaining
  • Promoting and normalizing good quality part-time work
  • Limiting long paid hours and overwork
  • Transforming institutions to prevent and eliminate discrimination
  • Changing attitudes towards unpaid care work to overcome the motherhood wage gap

Implementing a comprehensive framework to achieve the harmonization of work and family responsibilities

  • Providing maternity protection to all women according to international labor standards
  • Guaranteeing adequate social protection to recognize, reduce and redistribute unpaid care work
  • Ensuring the provision of basic infrastructure, in particular in rural areas
  • Implementing gender-transformative leave policies: increasing leave entitlements for fathers and boosting their take-up rates
  • Making quality early childhood care and education a universal right
  • creating and protecting quality jobs in the care economy
  • Promoting decent work for care professionals, including domestic and migrant workers
  • Extending long-term care coverage for older persons
  • Promoting family-friendly flexible working arrangements
  • Encouraging individual income taxation to increase women's labor force participation
  • Offering work reintegration measures

Learn more from the full report.

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