Women's Leadership in Social Dialogue for Gender Equality in the Asian Garment Sector

Evidence for amplifying women’s voice, representation & leadership

As part of the Decent Work in Garment Supply Chains Asia project, the ILO and its International Training Center (ITCILO) are holding a five-part webinar series to explore social dialogue-based solutions for advancing gender equality in the garment and apparel sector in Asia. This webinar is the first in the series.

The presentation from this webinar can be found here. In addition, the links to the webinar recording can be found in various languages below:This webinar is free and open to everyone. Sign up here.

Languages: English with simultaneous interpretation into Burmese, Indonesian, Khmer, and Vietnamese. Bahasa Indonesia - Tiếng Việt - ဗမာ - ខ្មែរ

Though women account for the majority of the garment sector workforce in most Asian countries, women are typically found in low-wage jobs in the lower tiers of the supply chain, and remain largely underrepresented in social dialogue and collective bargaining, policy dialogue and managerial structures.

This is partially driven by stereotypes of women’s aspirations, preferences, and capabilities, as well as social and familial expectations for women to take on the bulk of care work within the home. While women are the majority in this sector, men dominate the leadership and representation in tripartite and bipartite dialogue and policy-making fora. This has often resulted in policy responses that are not sensitive to gender. There is ample evidence of the positive spill over effects of having more women - alongside men - in leadership roles.

This webinar will provide attendees with the opportunity to become familiar with the key concepts related to women’s voice, representation and leadership.

At the end of the webinar, attendees will have a better understanding of the evidence in support of gender-diversity in the garment sector. This will include statistics of women in leadership, the benefits of gender balanced leadership, and examples of good and promising practice.

Key questions

•    What are the benefits of gender diversity, representation and leadership in the world of work, including in the COVID-19 context?
•    Why should women’s voice, representation and leadership be a priority for organizations?
•    How have organizations been successful in implementing gender inclusive practices?


Ms Joni Simpson, Senior Specialist, Gender, Equality and Non-Discrimination – International Labour Organization
Joni provides technical guidance and support to Governments, Workers’ and Employers’ Organizations (ILO Constituents) and partners on key gender equality issues, non-discrimination and women’s economic empowerment approaches. This addresses policies and programmes relating to ensuring equal opportunity, closing key gender gaps, addressing non-discrimination, women’s representation and leadership, as well as diversity inclusion. Joni has over 20 years promoting women’s entrepreneurship and leadership – and was previously ILO’s Global Coordinator & Specialist in Women’s Entrepreneurship Development and Entrepreneurship Education.

Ms Gretchen Alther, Senior Leadership Development Specialist, Leadership Program, Professional Development Program East-West Center
Gretchen Alther builds programs that strengthen individual and community leadership. She is expanding the East-West Center’s leadership programs for women; directs the Center’s flagship residential course, the Asia Pacific Leadership Program; and contributes to other short- and long-term training both in Hawai‘i and across the region. With over 15 years of experience as an international educator and humanitarian, Ms. Alther infuses her program design with a commitment to equity and to grassroots communities. Previously, Ms. Alther designed and managed multimillion-dollar programs to support disaster relief, conflict zone aid, and resilience in marginalized communities in the US, Myanmar, Pakistan, Nepal, Gaza, Colombia, Haiti and beyond.


To be confirmed

Webinar series

Future webinars in this series will cover:
  • 18th November: Promising practices in advancing equality and non-discrimination in the garment sector
  • 2nd December: Closing the gender pay gap – practical measures and initiatives in the garment sector
  • 16th December: Sharing is caring: unpaid care work, families and the world of work
  • 6th January: Ending violence and harassment in the garment sector– what will it take?

About the project

The Decent Work in Garment Supply Chains Asia project aims to bring together knowledge and insight from across the garment sector in Asia, and enhance regional action and industry coordination to drive decent work and sustainability goals.

With a core focus on four key areas - social dialogue, gender equality, productivity and environmental sustainability - the project will shine a light on the approaches that drive effective change. The project is implemented by ILO with financial support from the Government of Sweden (Sida).

Webinars form part of a wider Women’s Leadership in Social Dialogue in the Garment Sector programme.  This six-month programme is designed to support emerging female leaders from across the sector in Asia in their efforts to advance gender equality through effective social dialogue. With an initial intake comprising representatives from Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Indonesia, the programme consists of a mixed learning model with 5 online modules and 6 live webinars, together with discussion forums and coaching. The German development agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH also sponsors participants in the programme.