International Women’s Day: Working Together for an Equal Future

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights”, brings together people of every gender, age, ethnicity, race, religion and country, to drive actions that will create the gender-equal world. The annual International Women’s Day on 8 March highlights the challenges faced in achieving gender equality and calls on women and men to address these collectively. This International Women’s Day, the Global Deal partnership emphasises the necessity of gender equality in the world of work.

The Global Deal thematic brief on the Contribution of Social Dialogue to Gender Equality draws on case studies from around the world, illustrating how governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations can use social dialogue to deliver gender-equal outcomes in a range of different sectors. Gender-inclusive labour markets and gender-responsive workplaces are not only a pillar of a just society, they also help business to attract the best employees and enhance performance. Enterprises with the highest levels of gender diversity on their executive teams are more likely to record above average profitability.

Social dialogue also has great potential to contribute to the achievement of the ambitious UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, notably those on gender equality and women’s empowerment (SDG 5) as well as decent work and economic growth (SDG 8).

New initiatives aimed at facilitating the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals have been established, including the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC). Spearheaded by the International Labour Organization (ILO), UN Women and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), this coalition brings together governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations, companies and academia to devise ways to accelerate progress on the achievement of equal pay for work of equal value by 2030.

Another example of how social dialogue contributes to good governance in the workplace, decent work, inclusive economic growth and democracy is the ILO Convention No. 190, the first ever international standard aimed at ending violence and harassment in the world of work.

Successfully achieving gender equality requires a collaborative effort across all fields and areas of life. Social dialogue is one of the most effective ways to accelerate equality in the world of work, with benefits for all.