Women's Leadership in Social Dialogue for Gender Equality in the Asian Garment Sector

Sharing is caring: unpaid care work, families and the world of work

As part of the Decent Work in Garment Supply Chains Asia project, the ILO and its International Training Centre (ITCILO) are holding a five-part webinar series to explore social dialogue-based solutions for advancing gender equality in the Asian garment sector. This webinar is the fourth in the series.

The presentation from this webinar can be found here. In addition, the links to the webinar recording can be found in various languages below:
This webinar is free and open to everyone. Sign up here.

Languages: English with simultaneous interpretation into Burmese, Indonesian, Khmer, and Vietnamese. Bahasa Indonesia - Tiếng Việt - ဗမာ - ខ្មែរ

Women face gender-specific barriers relating to norms and attitudes around their roles and abilities, including their disproportionate responsibility for unpaid care and domestic work. This limits their time availability, mobility and access to education and training – all of which can hinder their career prospects.

Women in Asia and the Pacific spend more than four times as much time on unpaid care as men – and men in this region do the least amount of unpaid care of all regions.  According to ILO-Gallup report, unpaid care and domestic work is the top lever for women engaging in and staying in the workforce. COVID-19 has further burdened women with additional unpaid care duties.

Furthermore, only about one-quarter of 26 countries in the Asia region meet the minimal standards of maternity leave set out in ILO Convention No. 183. Casualization of the workforce further impacts women, as short-term contracts and non-standard forms of employment and increasing informality, such as home-based work, often exclude their access to maternity benefits that may exist within legislative frameworks and leave women with little or no social protection before or after giving birth.

Measures to support women to manage and share work and family responsibilities – and encourage men’s involvement-– are critical to women workers’ success in the workplace.

This webinar will provide attendees with the opportunity to become familiar with the key concepts and data related to unpaid care, work and family responsibilities and maternity protection as it relates to the garment sector.

Key questions

  • How does disproportionate unpaid care, work and family responsibilities impact women workers’ opportunities for career growth in the garment sector?
  • What ILO frameworks and conventions offer support for workers?
  • What policies and practical measures can companies utilise to better ‘share the care’ and promote more work-family friendly policies? 


Mr. Christian Viegelahn, Senior Economist – International Labour Organization
Christian Viegelahn is Senior Economist at the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Bangkok. He joined ILO’s Bangkok Office in 2018, after having spent several years at ILO’s Research Department in Geneva. His research focuses on trade, global supply chains, macroeconomics and the labour market. Mr. Viegelahn has published his research in several peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of International Economics or the International Labour Review, and contributes regularly to ILO flagship reports. He is also managing the production of new labour market indicators, such as information on labour market transitions. Mr. Viegelahn holds a PhD in Economics from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. Before joining the ILO in 2011, he worked for the OECD.

Mr. Mora Kim, Compliance Manager  – Crystal Group
Mr. Kim has worked as a Compliance Manager for Crystal Group in Cambodia since 2015. Crystal Group oversees 20 self-operating manufacturing facilities spanning across five countries, with a workforce of approximately 80,00 employees. Mr. Kim previously worked as a consultant for ADIDAS, where he focused on labour and health, safety and environment (HSE) standards in factories in Cambodia.


Ms. Do Hong Van, Deputy Director of Women Affairs’ Department - VGCL
She has been in this role since 2016. Ms. Do Hong Van has a range of experience working in population, family and children’s issues, legislation and policies related to women workers, and women advancement programs. She has a master’s in law from Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics.

Ms. Thanuja Jayawardhana, Deputy General Manager of Women's Empowerment - MAS Holdings
Having practiced corporate law for 12 years, Thanuja’s career trajectory took a turn in 2018, when she joined MAS’ flagship women empowerment and advocacy programme “Women Go Beyond” to drive its women in management agenda. Having worked with the MAS Legal team for six years, Thanuja was no stranger to the programme, but welcomed the opportunity to immerse herself in the active intervention to increase women in management across MAS. In 2020, she took over as Head of the Women Go Beyond team, and now oversees all initiatives in the areas of women’s empowerment and gender equality, including women’s health, safety and wellbeing, skill development, and career advancement. She also heads the MAS Code of Conduct, which includes policy deployment and grievance handling. Having completed her Bachelor of Arts in English at the University of Colombo, Thanuja went on to study law at the Sri Lanka Law College.

Webinar series

Future webinars in this series will cover:
  • 6th January: Ending violence and harassment in the garment sector– what will it take?

About the project

The Decent Work in Garment Supply Chains Asia project aims to bring together knowledge and insight from across the garment sector in Asia, and enhance regional action and industry coordination to drive decent work and sustainability goals.

With a core focus on four key areas - social dialogue, gender equality, productivity and environmental sustainability - the project will shine a light on the approaches that drive effective change. The project is implemented by ILO with financial support from the Government of Sweden (Sida).

Webinars form part of a wider Women’s Leadership in Social Dialogue in the Garment Sector programme.  This six-month programme is designed to support emerging female leaders from across the sector in Asia in their efforts to advance gender equality through effective social dialogue. With an initial intake comprising representatives from Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Indonesia, the programme consists of a mixed learning model with 5 online modules and 6 live webinars, together with discussion forums and coaching. The German development agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH also sponsors participants in the programme.