31 March 2014 - The launch featured five joint publications--Gender Equality and the Labor Market: Cambodia, Kazakhstan and the Philippines, Good Global Economic and Social Practices to Promote Gender Equality in the Labor Market, Good Global Legal Practices to Promote Gender Equality in the Labor Market, Gender Equality in the Labor Market in Cambodia, and Gender Equality in the Labor Market in the Philippines--by the ADB, International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Philippine Commission on Women (for the Philippine report) on promoting gender equality in the labor market in Cambodia, Kazakhstan, and the Philippines and the related good global legal, economic, and social practices. Hosted by the Gender Equity Community of Practice, the event marked the closing of ADB’s annual Women’s Month celebrations.
In his speech, James Nugent, ADB's Director General of Southeast Asia Department, said the publications identify the seven major labor market gender gaps, namely, labor force participation rates; employment rates; human capital; unpaid domestic and care work burden; share of vulnerable employment; decent work; and social protection. He observed that the remarkable economic expansion in Asia did not translate into sufficient employment growth for men and, more so, for women. He said that only 30% Asian women are engaged in non-agriculture wage employment (in some economies, even less than 20%), and females generally earn around 20%-50% less than their male counterparts. He added examples of ADB initiatives in creating more job prospects for women, through technical and vocational education, inclusive finance and skills training.
ILO Director Jeff Johnson delivered launch comments noting that the labor market should promote equal opportunities for all (men and women) and encouraged the creation of decent and productive work, promotion of rights at work, access to social protection, and advancement in social dialogues. He flagged concerns over high rates of vulnerable employment where women are more susceptible than men. He concluded on a hopeful note that the joint publications will be useful in the efforts to make the labor market more gender equal; and that decent and productive work will enable sustainable and inclusive growth.
Philippine Commission on Women Executive Director, Emmeline Verzosa, also delivered remarks and shared the Commission’s work on women’s rights against the backdrop of the labor market. She also commented on the labor-related highlights of the recently concluded outcome document from the 58th session on the UN Commission on Status of Women.
Imrana Jalal, ADB Senior Social Development Specialist (Gender and Development) of the Regional and Sustainable Development Department facilitated the event. In her statement, she remarked that the clamor for employment generation, reduction of vulnerable employment, and improvement in decent work opportunities require broad macroeconomic responses and gender inclusive national employment plans. She noted that the publications, which were completed in late 2013, emerged through the ADB technical assistance project, Promoting Gender Equality in the Labor Market for More Inclusive Growth.