International Women's Day 2016

At the ILO in Geneva, a high-level, tripartite panel discussed what needs to be done to harness the potential of the sweeping Sustainable Development Agenda in order to promote gender equality and end all forms of discrimination against women in the world of work, and achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all by 2030.
  1. Interactive Map: Explore the gender labour gap around the world

    Despite significant progress over the past century, women are still a long way from achieving gender equality in the workplace. In many parts of the world, women are still trapped in low-skilled work and work longer unpaid hours. Explore the chart to learn how working women are faring around the world.

Marking the day

  1. Watch

    High-level panel discussion "Getting to Equal by 2030: The Future is Now"

    The panel members are:

    • Her Excellency Pamela Hamamoto, the US Ambassador and Permanent representative to the UN in Geneva
    • Ms Linda Kromjong, Secretary-General of the International Organisation of Employers’
    • Ms Sharan Burrow, General-Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation
    • Mr Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General
    • Ms Shauna Olney, Chief of the Gender, Equality and Diversity Branch, ILO.

  2. Audio report: The event in short

    2030 Agenda: How to deliver on the promise to women

  • Let’s work together to achieve genuine gender equality and women’s empowerment in the world of work. Decent work for women brings decent lives for all."

    ILO Director-General Guy Ryder
  1. Gender equality, decent work, and sustainable development

    Youth on achieving gender equality. Contribution of the International School of Geneva to the ILO's debate on International Women's Day 2016.

Getting to Equal by 2030: The Future is Now

Despite significant progress over the past century, gender equality in the world of work remains an elusive goal. How can we establish a new blueprint for action to make the world of work, in all its dimensions, a more equitable place? In 2016, International Women’s Day provides an opportunity to address the critical issues raised by the newly adopted UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and consider what needs to be done to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls, reduce inequality within and among countries and achieve decent work for all women and men.


Gender equality and non-discrimination have been pillars of the ILO’s mission to promote social justice through the world of work since its foundation. As the Organization approaches its second century it has chosen to focus on women in the world of work as one of its centenary initiatives with a view to establishing a clear understanding of where things stand, how gender issues are perceived by women and men, the constraints that exclude women from the world of work or undermine their opportunities, and what needs to be done to achieve more rapid and sustainable progress.

The ILO Women at Work Centenary Initiative takes on added significance in view of the sweeping new Sustainable Development Agenda recently adopted by the global community with the aim of transforming our world by 2030. Gender equality and women’s empowerment are at the centre of this vision, and are critical to the realization of all the Agenda’s goals. And the world of work will be the forum where the struggle to realize gender equality and sustainable development will be lost or won. The focus the ILO Women at Work Centenary Initiative converges with and provides a platform for advancing the 2030 Agenda.

There has been significant progress over the past century in tackling gender inequality . Yet, genuine equality in the world of work remains an elusive goal and large gaps between women and men remain at all levels of the economy: labour market participation, pay and quality of work, work-family balance, domestic and caring responsibilities, voice and social protection. In decision-making and managerial positions, the glass ceiling remains firmly intact.

The new Sustainable Development Agenda goes a long way towards turning these challenges into clear goals; our responsibility now is to turn these goals into reality. Gender issues feature in all 17 of the SDGs, but are of particular importance in the main ILO-related goal SDG 8 on sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, and SDG 10 on reducing inequality within and among countries, and of course are the focus of SDG 5 on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.