Education International
Education International

Decent work, decent lives for women

published 7 October 2010 updated 7 October 2010

7 October is the World Day for Decent Work – a day to remember the precarious situation of millions of women around the globe, and to call for decent work and decent lives for women.

“It’s at times like this that we need more investment in people, particularly women and young people. Publicly financed quality education and public services are essential for decent lives for women. Recovery begins with funding public services, not budgets cuts”, said Fred van Leeuwen, EI General Secretary.

Globalization has a disproportionate impact on women. The global economic and employment crisis left 34 millions of newly unemployed women and men since 2008 – many of them with high levels of education, a diversity of qualifications, skills and experience. Even where women represent a growing share of waged workers, it does not mean that they have secure, decent jobs. In fact, women are typically paid less and have less secure employment than men.

Quality education is one of the key tools for gender equality and the empowerment of women. It requires quality teachers whose status is recognized, following the principle that decent working conditions are decent learning conditions. Maintaining existing levels of teachers and support staff levels is relevant. The unprecedented shortage of qualified teachers requires 10 million people to be recruited and trained into education work. The recruitment of unemployed men and women, including mothers and pregnant women, into education work would provide a major fiscal stimulus and also to achieve internationally agreed goals.

Social protection measures for poor families are a key factor for real progress in tackling child labour. Family income and the availability of decent work are determining factors in parents’ decision to send their daughters and sons to schools. “What is needed is full employment and decent work policies. These steps are essential to poverty eradication and the realization of internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals”, said Jan Eastman, EI Deputy General Secretary.

The Council of Global unions is currently working together to draw up a charter for a global agenda for quality public services, which will be launched at the Quality Public Services – Action Now! Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, next week. Across the globe trade unionists stand up for their rights to decent work and a decent life.

EI’s First World Women’s Conference – “On the Move for Equality”

The decent work agenda and the gender dimension of the Millennium Development Goals will be central to the discussions at EI’s First World Women’s Conference “On the Move for Equality”. Among the speakers is Nelien Haspels, Senior Gender Specialist of the International Labor Organization Office in Southeast Asia. A number of workshops will deal with women’s precarious situation and gender discrimination in the labor market. Go to the Conference Webpage to find out more about the programme and register for the event.