Opening address at the webinar on Promoting gender equality in the workplace through the promotion of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH)

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the webinar on Promoting gender equality in the workplace through the promotion of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), 30 March 2022, Manila, Philippines

Statement | Manila, Philippines | 30 March 2022
Happy Women’s Month!

Greetings to our partners from:
  • the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) and the Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC);
  • the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP);
  • Brothers and sisters from workers’ organizations;
  • Colleagues, participants, ladies and gentlemen. Good morning!
Warm welcome to this webinar. We thank the United States Department of Labor (US DOL) for making this possible through its support to the ILO Project on Improving Workers’ Rights in the Rural Sectors of the Indo-Pacific with a focus on Women.

This webinar aims to raise awareness on general labour standards that apply to women workers in the rural sector, including on occupational safety and health (OSH), and; services and programmes of the government, workers, and employers’ organizations on gender equality.

Safety and health at work is a human right. It is afforded to everyone, including those in the rural sectors.

While occupational safety and health measures are in place, often they do not address the difference between women and men workers.

They still face varying risks and challenges. Gender roles and differences are often overlooked, which may cause adverse impact to health and safety.

Women workers are subject to a specific pattern of injury and diseases in some work settings, apart from gender specific work-related risks, such as violence and harassment, lack of basic employment rights .

Maternity protection and other care-related benefits and services are considered universal, yet it remains unfulfilled, especially in rural sectors, based on the latest ILO Care at Work Report.

We also witnessed how the COVID-19 pandemic magnified the pressure on women to balance care and work responsibilities.

It is crucial to consider and integrate these gender factors to design and implement more effective and practical safety and health policies and strategies at all levels, including in the rural sector.

Elimination of discrimination is among the four Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. Furthermore, it is enshrined in international labour standards, such as the Maternity Protection Convention, 2000 (No. 183), the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111), while Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100) addresses pay discrimination, including equal pay for work of equal value. Finally, the latest Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190).

Promoting gender equality and women’s safety and health are at the heart of the Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP). It is vital to realize the ILO’s Global Call to Action for a Human-centred Recovery from COVID-19 that is inclusive, sustainable, and resilient that leaves no one behind.

With your active participation and continuous engagement, we move closer to breaking barriers for women, especially in rural sectors. This is vital to ensure decent work and equal opportunity and treatment.

I wish you all a successful and productive webinar. May this endeavour help make decent work a reality for all!