In the new Global Report on Equality at Work 2011, the International Labour Office (ILO) notes that in spite of continuous positive advances in anti-discrimination legislation, the global economic and social crisis has led to a higher risk of discrimination against certain groups such as migrant labour.
Among the key findings of the report:
- Significant progress has been made in recent decades in advancing gender equality in the world of work. However, the gender pay gap still exists, with women’s wages being on average 70-90 per cent of men’s. While flexible arrangements of working schedules are gradually being introduced as an element of more family-friendly policies, discrimination related to pregnancy and maternity is still common.
- Sexual harassment is a significant problem in workplaces. Young, financially dependent, single or divorced women, and migrants are most vulnerable, while men who experience harassment tend to be young, gay or members of ethnic or racial minorities.
- Combating racism is as relevant today as it ever was. Barriers impeding equal access to the labour market still need to be dismantled, particularly for people of African and Asian descent, indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities, and above all women in these groups.
- Migrant workers face widespread discrimination in access to employment, and many encounter discrimination when employed, including access to social insurance programmes.
- Rising numbers of women and men experience discrimination on religious grounds, while discrimination on the basis of political opinion tends to take place in the public sector, where loyalty to the policies of authorities in power can be a factor in access to employment.
- Work-related discrimination continues to exist for many of the world’s 650 million persons with disabilities as their low employment rate reveals.
- Persons with HIV/AIDS can suffer discrimination through mandatory testing policies, or testing under conditions which are not genuinely voluntary or confidential.
- In the European Union, a total of 64 per cent of those surveyed expected that the economic crisis would lead to more age discrimination in the labour market.
- In a limited number of industrialized countries, discrimination based on lifestyle has emerged as a topical issue, especially in relation to smoking and obesity.
Source: United Nations International Labor Office
Download full pdf publication | Link to online press release