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ILO Governing Body to Address Jobs for Women, Child Labour and Strengthening of ILO Supervisory Mechanisms


Press release | 06 November 1996


GENEVA (ILO News) - The promotion of women's employment, the elimination of extreme forms of child labour and strengthening of standards are among the issues to be addressed by members of the International Labour Office's Governing Body in the course of its 267th Session in Geneva from 7 to 21 November.

Current ILO activities to enhance women's employment and improve their working conditions will be examined on Monday, 11 November in the Committee on Technical Cooperation. The status of working women will also be reviewed in the Committee on Legal Issues and International Labour Standards with an eye to the revision of the Maternity Protection Convention No. 103 (1952) and Recommendation No. 95 (1952).

An ILO report to the Governing Body says that more than 45 per cent of all the world's women are now economically active. Although some progress has been made towards wage equality, women still earn 50 to 80 per cent of men's wages. In most developing countries women's employment is still concentrated in a narrow range of "female" occupations with low-paid and low-skilled jobs predominating.

Another priority of the Governing Body is to review the 1998-99 Programme for the elimination of extreme forms of child labour. The Governing Body will be examining strategies in response to the resolution concerning the elimination of child labour, adopted by the International Labour Conference in June this year.

The ILO's International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) is now active in more than 25 countries. Initially supported by Germany, the programme has expanded to include Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain and the United States as donors. In a similar vein, the ILO has recently enhanced its cooperation with UNICEF on child labour by the signing of a Letter of Intent on 8 October 1996, which pledges cooperation between the two agencies.

The Committee on Legal Issues and International Labour Standards (LILS) will consider strengthening the ILO's supervisory system with respect to fundamental labour standards. The LILS Committee Working Party will continue the examination of revision of international labour standards.

The Working Party on the Social Dimensions of the Liberalization of International Trade will pursue its discussions on Monday, 18 November.

The Committee on Employment and Social Policy will consider the effect to be given to the Resolution concerning employment policies in a global context adopted by the International Labour Conference at its 83rd Session in June 1996. This document also reflected concern for a broadened collaboration between the ILO and the Bretton Woods institutions.


A total of 23 action programmes are submitted for the Programme, Financial and Administrative Committee's consideration as part of a preliminary examination of the 1998-99 Programme and Budget.

The November Session takes place against an improvement in the financial situation of the Office. The level of resources in the 1998-99 Programme and Budget proposals is similar to the adjusted budget of expenditure adopted by the Governing Body in November 1995.

The proposals for 1998-99 reflect a continuation of the decentralization process and a further reduction in staff costs, particularly at headquarters. Total staff in all categories employed at Geneva headquarters fell by 16 per cent between 1990 and 1996, while staff in the field increased by 37 per cent.

The Governing Body - composed of 28 government members ( Endnote), 14 employer members and 14 worker members convenes three times annually. It serves as the executive council of the ILO and takes decisions on ILO policy. Ten of the government seats are permanently held by major industrialized countries. The remaining seats are filled on a rotating basis, taking account of geographical distribution, for three year terms. The employers and workers elect their own representatives.

The Chairman of the Governing Body is Mr. Jorge Arrate Mac Niven, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs of Chile; Mr. Jean-Jacques Oechslin (France) is the employer Vice-Chairman and Mr. William Brett (United Kingdom) is worker Vice-Chairman.


Bangladesh, Brazil*, Canada, Chile, China*, Colombia, Congo, Egypt, France*, Guinea, Germany*, Hungary, India*, Italy*, Japan*, Republic of Korea, Mauritius, Nigeria, Panama, Poland, Russian Federation*, Saudi Arabia, Surinam, Swaziland, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom*, United States*.

(* = members holding non-elective seats as States of chief industrial importance).