Equality and discrimination

Hundreds of millions of people suffer from discrimination in the world of work. This not only violates a most basic human right, but has wider social and economic consequences. Discrimination stifles opportunities, wasting the human talent needed for economic progress, and accentuates social tensions and inequalities. Combating discrimination is an essential part of promoting decent work, and success on this front is felt well beyond the workplace.

Issues linked to discrimination are present throughout the ILO’s sphere of work. By bolstering freedom of association, for example, the ILO seeks to prevent discrimination against trade union members and officials. Programmes to fight forced labour and child labour include helping girls and women trapped in prostitution or coercive domestic labour. Non-discrimination is a main principle in the ILO’s code of practice on HIV/AIDS and the world of work. ILO guidelines on labour law include provisions on discrimination, and in countries such as Namibia and South Africa, the ILO has provided advice on legislative change in this area.

Key resources

  1. Report

    Equality at work: The continuing challenge


    Global Report under the follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work


  1. Decent Work for a Life-time of Gender Equality