High-level roundtable about social dialogue at the Stockholm Forum on Gender Equality

Social dialogue was discussed at a high-level roundtable at the Stockholm Forum on Gender Equality on 17 April – “How do we enhance the voice of women in the world of work – what role for social dialogue?”. Harnessing social dialogue for greater gender equality is an important step in helping to move toward a future of work that is inclusive and better realizes the full potential of women in the workplace. Social dialogue has been a proven way to increase gender inequality by creating better and more equal access to jobs, advancing women’s issues, and by increasing social protection in industries and sectors that have been traditionally female – such as domestic work. However, when it comes to the social partners, be they trade unions, employers’ organizations, or governments, men continue to be overrepresented at all levels. The roundtable focused on this multidimensional gender perspective of social dialogue and how initiatives such as the Global Deal for Decent Work and Inclusive Growth can play a role.

Views of the panellists were unanimous: social dialogue is vital to increasing women’s voice in the world of work. Women are particularly vulnerable in the workplace, and issues such as the gender pay gap, sexual harassment and child care must be dealt with in effective dialogue. However the importance of a well-functioning social dialogue was emphasised. Representative social partners – governments, trade unions, employer organisations and individual companies – are key players in creating an enabling environment for the promotion of gender-inclusive policies in the world of work. Increasing the percentage of women participation in social dialogue was stressed as important and panellist mentioned several ways of doing this where quotas was mentioned as one alternative. It was also highlighted that gender equality as it is not just a matter for women – men have an important role to play in promoting gender equality too. Speakers highlighted that the Global Deal offers a platform where partners and other interested stake-holders can share experiences and good practices. This mutual exchange of information is one of the key features for increasing the knowledge about and use of social dialogue.

Ahead of the roundtable, the ILO – in cooperation with the OECD and the Global Deal support unit – published a discussion note on the gender perspective of social dialogue. This roundtable was a first step to discuss the gender perspective of social dialogue, an issue that is of great interest to many Global Deal partners. Within the framework of the Global deal, a thematic brief on this topic will be published later in 2018.

Read the discussion note here.pdf (388 kb)

The panel gathered:
Mila Carovska, Minister of Labor and Social Policy, Macedonia
Irene Wennemo, State Secretary to Minister for Employment and Integration, Sweden
Gabriela Ramos, Chief of Staff and Sherpa to the G20, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Ouided Bouchamaoui, Nobel Peace Laureate and former President of Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicraft (UTICA), Tunisia
Greg Vines, Deputy Director General, International Labour Organisation (ILO)
Pia Brantgärde-Linder, Manager High Voltage Products Northern Europe, ABB, Sweden
Moderator: Ambassador Sofia Östmark, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sweden