Gender Aspects of Poverty and Income Policy - Conference in St. Petersburg

The ILO Sub-Regional Office in Moscow jointly with the Nordic Council of Ministers convened an International Conference “Poverty and Income Policy in the North West Federal Okrug of the Russian Federation – Gender Aspects” which took place in St-Petersburg (New Raivola), 7-8 April 2005.

News | 08 April 2005
The Ministry of Labour and Social Development of the Russian Federation requested the ILO Moscow Office to select the North-West Federal Okrug as a pilot territory to apply the Decent Work approach in developing and implementing activities which will promote employment generation and poverty reductionfor both men and women.

Decreases in real incomes and increase in wage differentiation; growth of unemployment; restriction in access of poor people to free services; disparity of the social protection system; high level of inter-regional social and economic inequality urged the ILO to focus its attention to these adverse consequences of the transition reforms.

In 2002 the ILO started a project “Poverty reduction, employment generation and local economic development in the North West Russia” after consultations with its constituents in the NWFO regions which allowed to specify priorities and entry points for the work: wages and income policy, SME development, socially responsible enterprise restructuring, skills development, social protection, safe working conditions and social partnership.

A gender perspective is an imperative for the ILO, not merely for reasons of equity and fairness but also because it is part of the very substance of the ILO's `work today. That is why the ILO Russian partners requested the Moscow Office to look at numerous gender problems, and in particular to cover such issues as occupational segregation and other forms of discrimination, gender inequality at the labour market, income differentiations, feminization of poverty, restricted access to financial resources, etc.

During implementation of the project closer relations have been established with the ILO tripartite social partners, with a number of Russian and foreign organizations and institutions in the North West Okrug and in Northern European countries such as Ministries of Labour in Sweden and Finland, SIDA, TACIS, Resource Centres created in Leningrad oblast by SIDA WERAN Project and Socio-Economic Institute in St-Petersburg. In particular, it allowed to conduct a number of joint activities with the Finnish partners – Labour Market Department in Mikkel, South Savo which created synergy and higher efficiency.

The ILO Moscow Office completed a set of studies within the framework of the above mentioned project, namely on wage and income policy, on labour market situation in the North West Okrug of the Russian Federation and on social consequences of social benefits monetization. The aim of these studies was to analyze the main reasons of poverty among working men and women; to estimate gender differences in wages and incomes in the budgetary and non-budgetary sector, to analyze gender aspects in the labour market policy; to study who is affected – men or women – by the social reform.

The purpose of the conference was to arrange a broad discussion of the studies’ results and to develop recommendations and proposals on how to improve the labour and income policy including its normative and legal aspects and practical steps to be implemented in the country. Recommendations of the Conference will constitute the basis for the cooperation between ILO and the Russian Federation for 2006-2007.

More than 80 participants took an active part in the Conference. Among them there were social partners from 11 North West Okrug regions of the Vice-Governors level, Chairmen of the regional and federal Trade Unions, Heads of Employers’ Organizations, representatives of the Russian Parliament, research institutions, international agencies, donor-countries.