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Reforms needed for women's work rights: ILO

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Reforms needed for women's work rights: ILO
ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. Photo: Flickr/ITUC
12:13 CET+01:00
Progress on gender equality in the workplace remains inadequate 20 years after governments around the world signed the Beijing declaration on women's rights, the Geneva-based International Labour Organization said on Friday.

In 1995, 189 governments agreed to the declaration to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment, the ILO noted.

“Are working women better off today than they were 20 years ago?” asked ILO Director-General Guy Ryder in a statement. 

“The answer is a qualified yes. Has this progress met our expectations? The answer is decidedly no,” Ryder said.

“We need to be innovative, to reframe the debate and to intensify the focus on ensuring the rights of women at work, and promoting gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.”

The ILO has published a new working paper on the “motherhood pa gap” that imposes an additional penalty over the wage gap that women already experience worldwide.

Mothers often earn less than women without children, depending on where they live and how many children they have, the organization said.

While notable progress has been made in legislation to adopt international labour standards, the ILO said women continue to experience widespread discrimination and inequality in the workplace.

“In most parts of the world, women are often in undervalued and low-paid jobs; lack access to education, training, recruitment; have limited bargaining and decision-making power; and still shoulder responsibility for most unpaid care work.”

Figures show that the labour market participation rate of woman globally has dipped to 50 percent from 52 percent in 1995.

The percent of men working dropped to 77 percent from 80 percent.

Reducing the participation gap between men and women by 25 percent in the G20 countries would add more than 100 million women to the workforce, the ILO said.

The organization also called for improvements to maternity protection, with more than 800 million women without adequate coverage.

The ILO statement comes just ahead of International Women’s Day on Sunday.

For more information check the organization’s website

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