Gender equality

Working professionals in a co-working space in New Delhi. © ILO

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In Asia and the Pacific, the ILO promotes equality between women and men at work because this is a fundamental human right - essential to achieving the global goals of decent work and living for all. In the region, progress is being made, but social and economic indicators continue to point to persistent gender inequalities in the world of work. Progressive improvements in reaching parity gender goals in education do not yet translate into more equal outcomes in the labour market. Gender inequalities, in terms of unequal opportunity and treatment between men and women in employment, the gender pay gap, inadequate maternity protection and discrimination of women workers because of their family responsibilities remain pervasive and persistent despite the impressive economic growth rates and increasing female labour force participation rates in many countries of the region over the past decade.

The ILO supports labour and gender actors in the region with mainstreaming gender equality concerns in their employment, economic and social policies and closing gender gaps through specific action measures with men and women alike. Priorities are:
  • respect for fundamental principles and rights at work;
  • extension of labour and social protection to vulnerable groups of women workers;
  • women’s economic empowerment: enterprise development and equal pay;
  • increased representation of women in labour institutions and industrial relations;
  • reconciling work and family responsibilities among men and women; and
  • adequate maternity protection for all working women.