Preliminary results of ‘Female Labour Force Survey’ and ‘Situation Analysis of Domestic Workers’ disseminated

On 28th October 2015, the ILO’s Project on Promoting Decent Work for Decent Employment (GE4DE) funded by DFTAD disseminated the findings of two critical surveys i.e. Female Participation in the Labour Force. The findings will be vital in informing policy, legal and regulatory changes that facilitate women’s productive participation in the world of work.

Press release | Lahore, Pakistan | 03 November 2015
ISLAMABAD (ILO News): At a gathering of over 100 stakeholders on 28th October 2015, Government, Employers and Workers Organizations, Parliamentarians, Media and civil society endorsed the preliminary findings of two national studies on Female Labour Force Participation Rates and Domestic Workers. Both studies were commissioned with financial support of Government of Canada through Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade & Development (DFTAD) under the ILO’s Project on Promoting Gender Equality for Decent Employment (GE4DE).

Mr. David Gilles (Head of Aid, DFATD and Chief Guest at the launch) stressed on women’s participation in work force with subsequent qualitative & quantitative reflections while declaring these a catalyst for gender goals as well as critical for women’s economic empowerment. Similar annotations were shared by Ms. Sherin R. Khan, Officer in Charge for the ILO Country Office, who highlighted ILO’s mandate and stance on gender equality in the world of work at all levels stating that feminization of the informal economy has increased women’s vulnerability.

The Female Labour Force Survey covered a sample from all geographical proximities of Pakistan by identifying push and pull factors impacting on women’s participation in labour force. According to the preliminary findings-of the total 2,415 women interviewed, only 27% of women in the labour force work in government institutions, while around 73% are employed in the private sector. Approximately 26% of women are engaged in manufacturing; 18% in education and 18% in health & social work. Of the women that are part of the labour force, about 48% are restricted from working by their families.

Safe transport and secure work environment came out as the most important enabling factor for women to work. Only 37% of observed harassment cases at the workplace had put up formal complaints to their supervisors, unfortunately with ceremonial penalty to the accused. There emerged urgent need to continue raising awareness on harassment laws amongst employers and employees is essential to avoid or address harassment incidences in work places. Incentivizing private sector organizations in the growing sectors to hire more women will help increasing the female labour force participation.

During the dissemination of the Domestic Workers’ study findings-which provides insights aimed at facilitating policy makers in legislation Mrs. Shaista Pervez Malik, MPA & Chairperson Women’s Parliamentary Caucus said ‘This is an excellent in-time assistance highly supportive of my efforts to table a relevant bill’.

Department of Labour Punjab has led the way in recognising domestic workers by drafting a policy for domestic workers. Further the Women Development Department of Punjab in partnership with the GE4DE project has been implementing the skills training programmes in domestic work, targeting 1000 women in Lahore.

A Panel discussion characterized the dissemination of the findings of the survey on domestic workers moderated by Mr. Baber Shaikh (hospitality icon & T.V. host). Panelists included Mr. Khawaja Nauman, President Employers Federation of Pakistan (EFP), Mr. Zahoor Awan, General Secretary Pakistan Workers’ Federation (PWF), Mr. Tahir Manzoor, Department of Labour & Human Resources, Ms.Aroma, President of the Domestic Workers’ Union and Ms. Qaisra, representative of Lahore Chambers of Commerce as an employer of domestic workers.

Panel members discussed the challenges and opportunities for domestic workers and endorsed the preliminary findings of the study on domestic workers. Efforts by the PWF to strengthen the domestic workers union which was established at the end of 2014 were shared. The Domestic Workers Union currently has 1200 members. Employers stressed on ensuring both rights and responsibilities and not just the rights so that decent work could be realised for domestic workers. Panellists agreed that every initiative requires tact and strategy and domestic work is no exception. Inclusion of domestic workers in the labour laws was emphasized by all stakeholders as to enable them avail the benefits, other workers enjoy such as social security; and minimum wages.
It is expected that the findings of the Domestic Workers study will contribute to strengthening the draft policy and advocate to develop legislation to improve the working conditions of domestic workers. On the other hand, the findings of Female Labour Force Survey will benefit larger audience including government; employers; workers; academia; policy makers; media and civil society to promote programmes and actions leading to gender equality at their respective organizations.

For more information:

Hiba Siddiqui
Programme Officer
ILO Office for Pakistan
Tel: +92 51 2276456-8