Opening address at the webinar on Promoting gender equality in the workplace through compliance to general labour standards

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the webinar on Promoting gender equality in the workplace through compliance to general labour standards, 16 March 2022, Manila, Philippines

Statement | Manila, Philippines | 16 March 2022
Happy Women’s Month!

Greetings to our partners from the:
  • Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)
  • Philippine Commission on Women (PCW)
  • Department of Agriculture (DA)
  • Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)
  • Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
  • Department of Interior and Local Government
  • Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP);
  • Brothers and sisters from workers’ organizations
  • Colleagues, participants, ladies and gentlemen. Good afternoon!
Welcome to this webinar on Promoting Gender Equality at the Workplace through Compliance to General Labour Standards.

We thank the United States Department of Labor (US DOL) for supporting the ILO Project on Improving Workers’ Rights in the Rural Sectors of the Indo-Pacific with a focus on Women, and this webinar.

Women’s Month celebration plays an important role in highlighting significant contributions of women to sustainable development.

This year’s global theme “Gender equality for a sustainable tomorrow”, is a resounding call in recognizing the role of women and girls, including women rural workers, in building a more sustainable and inclusive future for all.

These series of webinars aim to raise awareness on general labour standards that apply to women workers in the rural sector, including on OSH, and on services and programmes promoting gender equality by government, workers, and employers’ organizations.

In the Philippines, women comprise 22 per cent of the 9 million estimated workers in agriculture, fishing, and mining sectors in 2020.

However, their role and contribution across the supply or value chains are often unseen, overlooked, and undervalued. They also face more constraints on access to decent work.

According to the latest ILO Care at Work Report, maternity protection and other care-related leave benefits and services, including affordable, accessible, and professional childcare and long-term care, are considered universal, yet it remains unfulfilled, especially in rural sectors.

They are more likely to earn less than men since their jobs are in lower tiers of the supply or value chain, with long working hours, poor working conditions and equally hazardous and precarious as that of men.

The right to equal opportunity and treatment is both a human right and a labour right.

It is enshrined in international labour standards, such as the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111), while the Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100) addresses pay discrimination, including equal pay for work of equal value.

Finally, the latest Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190), recognizes the importance of addressing violence and harassment in rural areas, where a large proportion of women work.

Promoting rights at work is at the heart of the Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP), designed and adopted by government, employers, and workers’ organizations.

Advancing gender equality and compliance to labour standards is necessary and will benefit all. It is vital to achieve the ILO’s Global Call to Action for a Human-centred Recovery from COVID-19 that is inclusive, sustainable, and resilient.

With your active participation and continuous engagement, we move closer to breaking barriers for women, especially in rural sectors, to attain decent work and equal opportunity and treatment.

I wish you all a successful and productive webinar today. May this endeavour lead us closer to making decent work a reality for all!