Opening address at the Strategic planning for gender mainstreaming in the promotion of compliance to labour standards and OSH in the rural sectors

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the Strategic planning for gender mainstreaming in the promotion of compliance to labour standards and OSH in the rural sectors, 14 December 2022, Manila, Philippines

Statement | Manila, Philippines | 14 December 2022
  • Officials of the Department of Labor and Employment;
  • Executive Director Kristine Yuzon-Chaves of the Philippine Commission on Women;
  • National and local government partners;
  • Officials from the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines and sectoral employers;
  • Brothers and sisters from workers’ organizations;
  • Partners from regions 5, 11, 12 and 13 from the banana, fishing and mining sectors;
  • Colleagues, facilitators, distinguished guests, magandang umaga (good morning)!
We appreciate your presence in this workshop to ensure that occupational safety and health and labour standards compliance take gender equality into account.

Despite the Philippines’ high rank in the region on gender equality, women continue to confront challenges, especially in rural areas.

Around two million women work in rural sectors but trapped in poverty and poor working conditions. They are often at the bottom of the value chain, overworked and underpaid. They carry the burden of unpaid but essential care work at home. They are more likely to earn less than men even with long hours in jobs that are equally hazardous and precarious.

According to the International Labour Organization’s Care at Work Report, maternity protection and affordable childcare are considered universal, but are not extended to women in rural sectors.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it even harder for women to balance care and work responsibilities. Women are among the hardest hit, reversing years of progress on women's rights, gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals.

When it comes to safety and health at work, women’s needs, and conditions are overlooked. Occupational safety and health measures often disregard the biological and social differences between women and men workers. Violence and harassment against women at work is also prevalent.

A safe and healthy workplace is a fundamental principle and right at work along with non-discrimination. They are building blocks for advancing social justice and promoting decent work.

This is consistent with the Decent Work Country Programme of the Philippines and the ILO’s Global Call to Action for a human-centred recovery.

Finally, this workshop will strengthen your capacity to mainstream gender equality and occupational safety and health in policies, plans and programmes.

Our collective action through this ILO Project to improve workers’ rights in rural sectors focusing on women with the United States Department of Labor, will help chart the future of work for women, leaving no one behind.

Gender equality benefits everyone. The future of work must also consider the future of women and girls. We must work together and act immediately to close the gender gap.

I wish you all the best and a successful workshop.

Maraming salamat (Thank you very much)!