The International Labour Organization is the world’s authoritative international agency in setting standards for the world of work. The Australian Government, a founding member State, make assessed contributions to the ILO to discharge its global mandate to promote standards and fundamental principles and rights at work, employment opportunities, the extension of social protection and social dialogue, cross cut by the promotion of gender equality. The Australian Government supports the ILO’s mandate and objectives in promoting social justice and decent work for all in Asia, the Pacific and the rest of the world.
Australia also works with the ILO on technical cooperation programmes that support the application of the Decent Work Agenda and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in the Asia-Pacific region. This cooperation takes place through the Australian Government – ILO Partnership Agreement 2010 - 2015 as well as through individual cooperation agreements negotiated with local representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Australian Aid (AusAID). Australia is committed to delivering an effective aid program and is increasing its engagement with multilateral partners. AusAID is working towards increasing official development assistance contributions will increase to 0.5 per cent of GNI – effectively doubling – by 2015-2016.
Partners for Decent Work in Asia and the Pacific
The five-year Partnership Agreement between the ILO and the Australian Government promotes sustainable employment and decent work in the Asia-Pacific region. We are presently working together with ILO constituents in 13 countries of Asia and the Pacific. The agreement provides for AUD$ 15 million in funding for 2010-12 to support initiatives in the following five areas:
- Better work programme;
- Labour governance and migration in the Pacific;
- Green Jobs in Asia;
- Youth Employment Promotion Programme (Timor-Leste); and
- Pacific Growth and Employment Project
In keeping with the ILO’s tripartite structure, the Partnership Agreement was developed in consultation with the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Australian Industry Group.
A review of the Partnership Agreement and its project activities will be carried out by the Australian Government in mid-2012.
Today, according to the ILO company survey, women represent 26 per cent of all employers in the region and an increasing number of managers. While numerous recent studies point to positive business gains that result from more gender diverse management teams. Women in the Asia-Pacific region represent a critical pool of talent as more women obtain degrees, even outnumbering men in some countries. However, while much has been gained, women’s labour market participation is still well below that of men in the region, women tend to be concentrated in the lower ranks of management and in certain business functions, and gender pay gaps still persist. Overall, women make up less than 5 per cent of CEOs in publicly listed companies and there are some companies in the region that still have all male boards. Gender equality in the workplace remains a global problem that needs local and regional solutions.