By Byron Mutingwende
The Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) initiated by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is a vital instrument for promoting gender equality and non-discrimination and raising the visibility of women workers rights.
Guebray Berhane, the Senior Communication Officer at the ILO Regional Office for Africa made the remarks during the ILO Validation Workshop on the Toolkit for Gender Mainstreaming of the DWCP in Livingstone, Zambia, on 23 August 2017.
“I want to thank delegates here especially for their commitment in mainstreaming gender equality across the organisation and beyond; particularly in the implementation of national commitments to the integration of key gender issues in development policies, plans and programmes of all sectors in our countries.
“In 1994 and 1995, when our governments adopted the African and Beijing Platforms for Action, they also recognised the importance of ensuring that all members of society are actively included in the development process, both as actors and beneficiaries,” Berhane said.
In 1999, when progress made towards the attainment of this goal was assessed, the regional conference that reviewed the findings found out that, while improvements on the status of women had been achieved in a few areas, much remained to be done before the intended transformation could be realised.
He said the progress that had been registered in some countries and in some areas, for example, in having more women in national parliaments; increased school enrolment in primary and secondary levels; or the entry of relatively more women into the sciences, was not an outcome of concerted, comprehensive strategies that were grounded on sound and comprehensive policies. Instead, they were results of discrete, disconnected actions and efforts of committed individuals, groups and organisations.
For more organized and sustainable approach to the integration of gender concerns in all the sectors of development, the African regional conference in 1999 formulated the African Plan of Action to accelerate the implementation of the Platforms for Action. At the core of the African Plan of Action was the prescription for the formulation of comprehensive national gender policies that would guide the actions of integrating gender in all the development sectors.
The Plan also recommended the establishment of the necessary institutional mechanisms that would facilitate the implementation of the gender policy. In particular, it recommended the imperative of a national coordination mechanism for the gender mainstreaming process as well as the mechanism for holding those responsible for mainstreaming gender accountable to the stakeholders.
“This is why your dedicated workshop is not only timely but on point. The Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) is a vital instrument for promoting gender equality and non-discrimination and raising the visibility of women workers rights.”
DWCPs are also the main framework for ILO support to constituents at the country level.
Berhane said the expectation was that the Compendium to the ILO DWCP Practical Guidebook will contribute further to strengthening commitment to gender equality and non-discrimination in the world of work in Africa, enhance knowledge of the gender dimensions of decent work and will facilitate gender mainstreaming of DWCPs in Africa.
He said the two other key elements missing in the current DWCPs in Africa were communication and resource mobilisation hence the need to explore mainstreaming gender equality with the support of communication for better resource mobilisation.
He urged the media to grasp international labour standards since they shape national labour laws; hold countries to account; promote decent work; reflect/shape public opinion; push the broader political change and impact on the ordinary people.