ILO draws attention to gender pay gap in the Conference on the occasion of International Women’s Day

News | 05 April 2019
The International Labour Organization (LO) organised a conference on “Understanding Gender Pay Gap” on 1 March 2019 in Ankara on the occasion of March 8 International Women’s Day under the programme “More and Better Jobs for Women – Phase II” financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

Themed “Understanding Gender Pay Gap” deriving from ILO’s recently released “Global Wage Report”, the Conference addressed the current gender pay gap in Turkey and in the world, factors lying behind, measures to reduce pay gaps along with good practices across the world.

The Conference was organised as a part of the thematic series through which the ILO Office for Turkey every year addressed a different aspect of women’s employment and gender quality on the occasion of “March 8 International Women’s Day”.

“Equality at work is only possible with equality at home”

Delivering his opening remarks for the Conference, Mr. Numan Özcan, Director of the ILO Office for Turkey drew attention to the difference in earnings of men and women from work, and stated that gender pay gap was a persistent problem across the world.

Mr. Özcan said: “Equal pay for work of equal value is a fundamental human right, and a global goal supported by ILO both in Equal Remuneration Convention (No. 100) and through its regular reports such as the Global Wage Report.”

He underlined, referring to ILO reports, that to ensure gender equality at work, it was necessary to encourage sharing unpaid domestic care work by women, support women’s leadership, prevent violence and harassment at work, and implement policies to ensure gender equality at technology-based jobs of future.

Phase II commences for “More and Better Jobs for Women Programme”

Noting that the issue of gender pay gap could not be addressed independently of other gender-based problems in labour markets, and gender equality at work could not be achieved before achieving gender equality at home, Mr. Özcan informed the participants that Phase II of the “More and Better Jobs for Women Programme” commenced as of January 2019 upon the cooperation agreement signed between SIDA and the ILO Office for Turkey.

Ms. Nurcan Önder, Director-General for Labour, Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services, stated that increasing women’s educational level and qualifications was essential to increasing women’s employment and achieving gender equality.

“Combating gender pay gap means combating discrimination”

Delivering her remarks at the opening, Ms. Malin Stawe, Counsellor of the Swedish Embassy to Ankara, said: “Gender pay gap may partly be explained by occupation, sector, position, work experience and age. One aspect however relates to gender. Therefore, combating gender pay gap means indeed combating the discrimination against women in the society.”

Emphasizing that women’s economic empowerment was not only a matter of rights, but also meant more sustainable economic and social development for all, Ms. Stawe stated that eliminating gender pay gap was only possible through joint efforts of employers, workers and civil society as well as the state and private sector.

Ms. Irena Vojáčková Sollorano, United Nation Resident Coordinator in Turkey, underlined that the solution should start “from home”; March 8 International Women’s Day was not only about women; and gender equality could only be achieved through collaborative efforts of men and women.

Infographic poster on “Understanding Gender Pay Gap” introduced to the public

The infographic poster on “Understanding the Gender Pay Gap” produced by the ILO Office for Turkey to raise awareness in the context of Global Wage Report was also introduced to the public and project stakeholders on the occasion of the Conference.

The panel in the second part of the Conference featured Luis Pinedo Caro, an independent researcher contributing to the ILO Global Wage Report, and Assoc.Prof.Dr. Emel Memiş of the Faculty of Political Sciences, Ankara University. Having contributed to the design of the infographic as well, the panellists discussed the current gender pay gap in Turkey and in the world, factors lying behind, policy recommendations to prevent such gaps along with good practices across the world.

ILO Report: Women receive lower wages than men across the world

ILO’s report on gender pay gap, a measure of pay inequality between men and women, shows that women receive lower wages than men across the world. Factors behind the gender pay gap include differences in education and occupational experience as well as persisting gender discrimination in hiring and promotion, women having lower participation in labour force and higher unemployment, gender segregation of occupations and sectors.