ISLAMABAD – The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the United Nations Women have signed Letter of Intent to develop a common approach for better coordination and cooperation to work effectively on advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment initiatives.

This initiative will help both the UN agencies to amplify the voices and capacities of women, wherever their rights are violated, their opportunities are suppressed and their contributions are ignored, an official statement said on Wednesday.

Alice Shackelford, Country Director, UN Women said, “Both ILO and UN Women have been working on the issue of ‘Decent Work for Home-Based Workers’ and have intervened at policy, institutional and community levels - and these interventions are proving successful”. She emphasised that UN Women works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls, the empowerment of women, and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners in development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.

According to her, UN Women’s objective is to enhance national capacity and ownership to enable national partners to formulate gender responsive laws and policies and to scale up successful strategies to deliver on national commitments on gender equality. Shackelford said, the UN Women is envisaging a close partnership with the ILO on its key thematic areas including women’s voice, leadership and participation, women’s economic empowerment, ending violence against women and girls, women’s leadership in peace, security and humanitarian response and gender equality in planning, budgeting and statistics.

Francesco d’Ovidio, Country Director ILO, shared that both UN Women and ILO are already collaborating to empower women in the world of work. He said that both agencies are jointly developing a strategy to promote “Women Entrepreneurship” along with UNIDO and UNDP. He shared that ILO has finalized the priorities for Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) Pakistan with the inputs of federal and provincial governments, employers’ and workers’ organization. The gender issues have already been mainstreamed into the DWCP Pakistan and the UN Women and ILO collaboration will further strengthen gender equality commitments and improve women’s access to human rights in Pakistan in the context of economic empowerment and labour rights.

He further said that the ILO is implementing its flagship gender project (GE4DE) that aims to promote better working condition for women.

This project has established Gender Units in the four provincial Labour Departments for changes in legislation and labour inspection practices; 1572 (72 per cent women) received employable skills training and 80 per cent found jobs; 126 journalists have been trained on gender responsive reporting, a training module now to be scaled out in 35 more districts around Pakistan.

Both heads of UN bodies also indicated future joint planning to Support Decent Work for Domestic Workers; Promote Gender-Disaggregated Data Collection and Analysis; Women Entrepreneurship; Protection against sexual harassment and gender-based violence.