Gender-responsive employment policies

What are gender-responsive employment policies?

Gender-responsive employment policies explicitly pursue gender-equality objectives, through the creation of full, productive and freely chosen employment, guided by the normative framework provided by ILO Convention 122 and Recommendation 169. These policies are based on diagnoses of how policy options affect women and men differently and developed through a process of consultation and social dialogue, to ensure non-discrimination and the fulfilment of women’s right to work for profit or pay.

Gender-responsive employment policies include measures that support job creation and transitions in the labour market.

Gender-responsive job creation strategies:

a. Macroeconomic policies that explicitly promote gender equality concerns, which are embedded within fiscal and monetary policies. Fiscal stimulus packages of the kind put in place as the crisis unfolded comprised specific measures to support women and girls in critical policy areas (livelihoods, social protection, health, food security, and public infrastructure and housing). Whether or not the packages provided new resources or only reallocated existing resources had an impact on the size of the fiscal stimulus, and therefore on the ensuing recovery. Monetary policies, in turn, can provide liquidity to governments, households and businesses that enables them to avoid bankruptcy and debt build-up, which slows the recovery. Gender-responsive macroeconomic policies, when coherent with sectoral policies within a comprehensive employment policy framework, can contribute to create decent employment opportunities for both women and men, as indicated by the recent Conclusions concerning the third recurrent discussion on employment.

b. Sectoral employment policies that promote a just transition to a gender-equitable, job-rich and environmentally-sustainable economy. The policies that lead to a gender-equitable structural transformation vary from country to country, but what they have in common is a recognition of women as producers, wage earners and unpaid carers, channelling investment to support them in these roles. Industrial policies should enable women and men alike to benefit equally from the creation of jobs, including in new green industries and in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

c. Gender-responsive employment programmes that guarantee that women benefit from the assets created, improved or maintained, from the services provided or the training received; maximise the potential of programmes to attract women and allow them to join; and make sites into gender-responsive workplaces, enabling women and men to work in a safe and healthy environment, accommodating women’s and men’s lifecycle needs, ensuring women and men are paid equally for work of equal value; preventing and addressing harassment and workplace violence; and providing inclusive but safe work facilities.

Gender-responsive transition strategies:

a. Active labour market policies that support women’s attachment to the labour market and guarantee their access to productive employment. These include, for example, job retention measures to prevent women from losing their jobs; wage subsidies with specific gender balance requirements supportive of women’s re-entry into employment; as well as policies that support women’s employability and job-readiness, for instance, through help in acquiring digital skills. Inclusive and gender-responsive approaches encourage women’s broader labour force participation and can in themselves accelerate the recovery.

b. Gender-responsive skills learning strategies and policies entail creating gender-sensitive training environments with zero-tolerance for discrimination and harassment, fostering opportunities for women in technology-intensive skills and occupations, and for men in care work through gender-responsive career development services, and encourage and enable women to participate in continuous professional development opportunities – that allow balancing work, training and care responsibilities.