BackgroundPrior to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, nearly 2 billion people across the world were already living in fragility. The pandemic has exacerbated the vulnerability of people who were already in the grip of disaster and conflict, women in particular; it has also exposed pre-existing structural issues that have a negative impact both on crisis response and gender equality. Crisis-related hardships, including those caused by climate change, combine and compound pre-existing systemic disadvantages that are root causes of gender inequality. In this context, women in all their diversity are more frequently exposed to the risk of violence and harassment. Their working conditions deteriorate and their overall workload and care responsibilities increase. At the same time, crises can give rise to changes that enable women to take up roles, including the public sphere, that were previously dominated by men. Moreover, skill sets more strongly held by women such as communication and empathy are also critically important in crisis settings. Crises can also open opportunities to address existing gender-based and intersectional discrimination, and violations of rights, and as countries emerge from crisis situations, opportunities arise to develop social and economic recovery policies and strategies that are gender-inclusive.
There is a strong commitment by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and its constituents, jointly with the United Nations system, to enhance gender equality and non-discrimination and strengthen all women’s empowerment and leadership in settings of fragility, conflict and disaster. This is evidenced in the ILO normative and policy frameworks, including the Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience Recommendation, 2017 (No. 205), the 2019 ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work as well as the Global Call to Action for a Human-centred Recovery from the COVID-19 Crisis that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient, 2021 and the ILO Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No.190). At the global level, since the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on Women and Peace and Security, gender equality and women’s empowerment has consistently been integrated as an issue of critical importance in overall development, peace and resilience related agendas and frameworks, including the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.
All of these frameworks underscore that poverty, conflict and climate change and disaster vulnerability, and gender inequality and non-discrimination are intrinsically linked, and that development, peace and resilience gains can fully be realized by putting equality and equity at the centre of efforts.
The eventOn 22 March 2022, governments’, employers’ and workers’ representatives as well as other partners and stakeholders shared their insights on how to effectively mainstream gender equality and non-discrimination in the world of work faced by crisis and fragility in order to pave the way to more equal, peaceful and resilient societies.
The event also launched the ILO guide Gender equality and women’s empowerment in the world of work in fragile, conflict and disaster settings which is intended to support ILO staff, constituents and other stakeholders working at global, national or local levels in ensuring gender-responsiveness in the world of work across the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus.
Watch the recording of the event below.
- H.E. Mr Silvestre Bello III, Secretary of Labor and Employment, Philippines
- H.E. Mr Claver Gatete, Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the United Nations
- Ms Christina Agoritsa, Legal Expert, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Greece
- Ms Gisell Pugliese, Presidential Advisor, Colombia
- Ms Hasna Barkat Daoud, National Confederation of Employers of Djibouti (CNED)
- Ms Sarah Thomas Kamara, Sierra Leone Labour Congress (SLLC)
- Ms Teresa Zapeta, Executive Director of International Indigenous Women's Forum (FIMI)
- Ms Mito Tsukamoto, Chief, Development and Investment branch, ILO
- Ms Anou Borrey, Senior Gender Advisor, Gender and Crisis Facility, UNDP