International Labour Organization (ILO) and Gender Equality
In promoting social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights, the organization continues to pursue its founding mission that labour peace is essential to prosperity. Today, the ILO helps advance the creation of decent jobs and the kinds of economic and working conditions that give working people and business people a stake in lasting peace, prosperity and progress.
The ILO was founded in 1919, in the wake of WWI, to pursue a vision based on the premise that universal, lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon decent treatment of working people. The ILO became the first specialized agency of the UN in 1946.
The four strategic objectives
- Promote and realize standards and fundamental principles and rights at work
- Create greater opportunities for women and men to secure decent employment and income
- Enhance the coverage and effectiveness of social protection for all
- Strengthen tripartism and social dialogue
Bureau of Gender Equality
The Bureau for Gender Equality coordinates the global ILO Gender Network, which brings together gender specialists and gender focal points at headquarters and in the field offices. The ILO's mandate to promote gender equality in the world of work is enshrined in its Constitution and reflected in relevant international labour standards. The ILO’s policy on equality between women and men, expressed in the Director-General’s Circular no. 564 (1999), calls for mutually reinforcing action to promote gender equality in staffing, substance and structure. This is achieved by mainstreaming gender equality into all aspects of ILO work. The Bureau for Gender Equality provides office-wide support to this process. The promotion of gender equality is reflected in the ILO programme and budgets for which the entire organization shares responsibility. The overall strategy is to intensify the mainstreaming of gender equality into all ILO programmes, including Decent Work Country Programmes and national poverty reduction policies and strategies.
- Advisory services. The ILO offers advice and guidance on gender equality and gender mainstreaming to constituents aiming to make positive changes in their policies, legislation, programmes and institutions, and to ILO units at headquarters and field offices.
- Research and information dissemination on issues concerning gender equality in the world of work. This is a key activity for the ILO, covering a wide range of themes such as women’s entrepreneurship, the roles of men and women in the formal and informal economy, gender equality issues in social security, the gender dimension of HIV/AIDS, migration, post-conflict reconstruction, child labour and forced labour.
- Technical cooperation for development in the context of ILO’s technical cooperation programme.
- The Bureau for Gender Equality and the ILO Gender Network assist and advise on gender mainstreaming in the design and monitoring/evaluating phases of the various projects. Many projects include a specific allocation for gender equality in their budgets, thus ensuring that a gender perspective is both visible and accountable in the implementation of these projects.
- Knowledge development activities are supported by training and capacity-building that provides methodologies and tools for integrating gender equality into analysis, planning and practice. The Gender Coordination Unit of the ILO Training Centre in Turin runs regular training courses in gender mainstreaming, on line, at national and regional levels in all the regions, and in-house at the Training Centre. The ILO also publishes a wide range of gender specific training materials.
- The ILO's 2008-2009 Campaign on Gender Equality and Decent Work
- ILO Instruments on Labour Standards concerning Women Workers
- Global Employment Trends for Women, 2009