20 January 2021 – Achieving gender equality in the workplace remains one of the biggest challenges for governments and social partners. Women workers everywhere across the world continue to be under-represented in the decision-making bodies and processes that shape workplaces and employment outcomes. Additionally, the social and economic fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic have disproportionally affected women workers. This carries the risk of further widening gender inequalities in the world of work. However, social dialogue and sound industrial relations can be used as effective tools to overcome these challenges and promote gender equality at work.
This revised version of the thematic brief "The contribution of social dialogue to gender equality" discusses the reasons for this situation and identifies actions that governments, as well as employers’ and workers’ organisations, can take to advance gender equality through social dialogue. Drawing on case studies from around the world, the brief illustrates how social dialogue can deliver gender-equal outcomes in a range of different sectors, whether in the formal or the informal economy, including during the pandemic, and it identifies the circumstances and factors that can help bring about transformative change. The brief also examines the role of social dialogue in the application of relevant International Labour Standards on gender equality, including the ground-breaking Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190) and Recommendation No. 206 on the same subject matter. It concludes with some key recommendations for governments and employers’ and workers’ organisations.