Gender and Occupational Safety and Health

The big picture

Recognising diversity, including gender differences, in the workforce is vital in ensuring the safety and health of both men and women workers. Whilst some progress has been made in this area, the ILO believes that more can and should be done. Gender differences should be considered in the development of occupational safety and health (OSH) policies and prevention strategies. This approach acknowledges and makes visible the differences that exist between men and women workers in order to identify OSH risks and implement effective solutions.

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Kyoto Printing Factory woman employee
A gender sensitive approach recognises that because of the different jobs women and men do, their different societal roles, the expectations and responsibilities they have, women and men may be exposed to different physical and psychological risks at the workplace, thus requiring differing control measures. This approach also improves the understanding that the sexual division of labour, biological differences, employment patterns, social roles and social structures all contribute to gender-specific patterns of occupational hazards and risks. For OSH policies and prevention strategies to be effective for both women and men this dimension needs to be taken into account and such policies must be based on more accurate information about the relationship between health and gender roles. 

Focus on: 
The gender dimension - Integrating the gender perspective in OSH policies

Key resources

  1. Working paper

    10 Keys for gender sensitive OSH practice: Guidelines for gender mainstreaming in occupational safety and health

    1 December 2013

    Explains how to integrate gender issues into the analyses, formulation and monitoring of policies, programmes and preventive measures in order to reduce inequalities between men and women in occupational safety and health.

  2. Information note

    Women workers and gender issues on occupational safety and health

    05 November 2010

    Highlights the key gender issues in the field of OSH, progress and achievements in addressing these issues, as well as recommendations on how to integrate the gender perspective in the field of OSH.

  1. EU-OSHA report

    Mainstreaming gender into occupational safety and health practice

    14 November 2014

    This report presents examples of policies, programmes and practices from across the EU and worldwide to illustrate gender approaches in OSH.

  2. WHO Protecting Workers' Health Series

    Building healthy and equitable workplaces for women and men: A resource for employers and worker representatives


    This document provides employers and worker representatives with tools to build healthy and equitable workplaces for women and men while bringing needed attention to issues predominantly affecting women.