Promoting Gender Equality for Decent Employment (GE4DE)

In partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and development (DFATD)-Canada, the ILO in Pakistan is implementing the largest Gender Project in South Asia which aims to improve gender equality in the world of work. The project is premised on ILO’s conviction that, gender equality in the world of work is a fundamental matter of human rights, social justice and is instrumental in achieving social and economic development goals.The project has three main objectives which include strengthening national mechanisms to promote equal employment and opportunities for women, enhance skills and employability of women in rural and urban areas of selected districts and strengthen the capacity of the media to raise awareness on issues related to working women in both the formal and informal economy.


Provincial Departments of Labour, Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, Employers’ Federation of Pakistan (EFP), Pakistan Workers’ Federation (PWF), Ministry of Textile Industries, Provincial Technical Education and Vocational Training Authorities, Media organizations, Women Development Department (Punjab), Higher Education Commission, and Civil society organisations throughout Pakistan Donors Department of Foreign Affairs Trade and Development (DFATD) Canada
Target beneficiaries
Workers, employers, government officials, media, women and men from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds
Geographical focus


Despite improvements in the labour market in Pakistan over the last decade, women are still at a disadvantage position as compared to men. According to the latest Labour Force Survey, female labour force participation stands at 24 per cent compared with 82 per cent for men and most of the working women work in the agriculture sector or the informal economy.

Apart from the fact that women generally have a lower level of skills and education and the majority of the training for women does not meet employers’ demand, women often face a less favourable working environment such as childcare and workplace harassment. The belief that women shouldn’t do any professional work is also prevalent in the Pakistani society.

This project aims to improve gender equality in the world of work in Pakistan. It has three objectives:
Strengthening national mechanisms to promote equal employment opportunities for women.
The project will work with government, workers and employers to improve the understanding of gender issues in the world of work and help them design and implement policies and programmes to reflect the real needs, priorities and interests of women workers.
Enhancing the skills and employability of poor women in rural and urban areas of selected districts.
This component aims to provide training and decent employment for disadvantaged women in selected rural and urban areas. The training has been designed by using the ILO’s Training for Rural Economic Empowerment (TREE) methodology, a comprehensive mix of tools and strategies that are applied before, during and after training, to improve employment and gender equality outcomes.
Strengthening the capacity of the media to raise awareness on issues related to working women.
The media will be trained in ways to promote a more positive image of women at work, and raise public awareness about gender issues at workplace.


  • Training provincial labour department officials on gender mainstreaming, especially in labour inspection, project development and budgeting.
  • Raising employers’ awareness of gender equality practices in the workplace, including ending workplace harassment.
  • Improving the leadership of trade union members to advocate for and introduce practices that support gender equality in their workplaces.
  • Designing mechanisms to improve gender equality in the workplace, including online complaints mechanisms for workplace harassment.
  • Designing and organizing training for more than 6,300 women and men in employable skills, using ILO TREE methodology.
  • Organizing advocacy sessions for employers on promoting gender equality measures, and mainstreaming gender issues in business schools’ curricula.
  • Training local experts to develop industry competency standards including garment manufacturing, the beauty industry and cotton growing.
  • Enhancing the media’s understanding of Pakistan’s policy frameworks and international obligations relating to women’s employment and working women.
  • Promoting collaboration and interactive information sharing between the media and a range of other concerned actors.
  • Developing and disseminating promotional packages and materials, newsletters, reports and publications, in national and regional languages.


  • As a result of the project government policies and practices are becoming more gender mainstreamed. For instance, data collection and analysis from labour inspection has become more cognisant of the gender dimensions of work and this will lead to improved reporting on the application of national laws and international labour standards.
  • The Federal Ombudsperson’s office addressing workplace harassment has established an online complaints mechanism to increase their outreach and make the process easier.
  • New trade unions have been formed for the first time, for domestic workers, bakery workers, and agriculture and fishery sector workers with women playing a prominent role, including in officer bearer positions.
  • Employers have also introduced measures to promote gender equality in their organisations such as professional development for women and addressing workplace harassment.
  • More than 5000 women have been trained and 80% are productively employed with some working in the formal sector in the textiles, hospitality and services industries, some setting up their own businesses, and some continuing their education.
  • More than 800 journalists have been trained on gender responsive reporting and many of them have emerged as leading, recognised gender and labour reporters.

For further information please contact:

Ms Frida Khan
National Project Coordinator,
Tel. +92 51 2276456-8