International Women’s Day 2024: Equality at work for inclusive societies and stronger democracies

This International Women’s Day, the ITUC reiterates that the key to strengthening democracy and building inclusive societies is by advancing equality at work.

Women face systemic inequalities, including unequal labour force participation, the persistent gender pay gap, overrepresentation in informal sectors and workplace harassment.

Moreover, populist movements and authoritarian regimes continue to undermine decades of progress towards equality for women, which has included equitable workplace participation, economic and political empowerment and access to education.

ITUC General Secretary Luc Triangle said: "The path to a truly inclusive, equitable and democratic society is through the relentless pursuit of gender equality at work. Our call for a gender-transformative New Social Contract is about creating the conditions where every woman can thrive in dignity, free from discrimination and violence. This International Women’s Day, we recommit to this vision and advocate for transformative policies that uplift all workers."

  • The care economy: Investing in universal childcare and long-term care is projected to create 280m jobs by 2030. Such investments would increase women’s employment rates by 78 per cent, with 84 per cent of these positions being formal, offering a lifeline to significant numbers of migrant women currently in informal care roles.
  • The gender pay gap: Globally, women earn approximately 20 per cent less than men and, at the current rate, it will take 257 years to achieve equal pay for equal work. Closing this gap requires a concerted effort on enhanced pay transparency, combating occupational segregation, improving work-life balance, better social protection and fair minimum wages.
  • Gender-based violence and discrimination in the world of work: To achieve gender equality, we must tackle sexism, racism, xenophobia and discrimination against LGBTQI+ working people and migrants in the world of work. To do this, we must see progress on the inclusion and participation of women workers – in all their diversity – at the workplace.
  • Trade union engagement: trade unions must lead gender-transformative agendas through collective bargaining and social dialogue. This must be accompanied by an increase in women’s leadership within trade unions, which is essential to building an inclusive, feminist and equitable trade union movement.

Luc Triangle added: “Amid rising global challenges, including the surge in populist right-wing ideologies and authoritarian governments, the global union movement stands firm in its commitment to gender equality and women’s rights. We must increase our efforts to achieve gender equality in the world of work as an essential contribution to inclusive, peaceful and democratic societies.”