ILO Code of Practice on safety and health in agriculture beneficial for women

Experts representing workers, employers and governments, meeting at the International Labour Organization (ILO), have adopted a new draft Code of Practice on Safety and Health in Agriculture designed to improve working conditions in agriculture which employs some one billion workers worldwide. The new draft Code was adopted by 15 government, employer and worker experts and is to be submitted to the ILO Governing Body in March 2011 for endorsement.

Agriculture which employs more than a third of the world’s labour force, second only to services. Agriculture is the largest sector for female employment in many countries, especially in Africa and Asia, and accounts for approximately 70 per cent of child labour worldwide.” Agriculture is in fact one of the most hazardous of all sectors and many agricultural workers suffer occupational accidents and ill-health each year”, says Elizabeth Tinoco, Director of the ILO’s Sectoral Activities Programme.

Source: The FINANCIAL 30/10/2010

This new ILO step can help improving working conditions for women in developing countries, who are largely overrepresented in the agricultural sector in comparison to men. Women in agriculture often work as contributing family workers. Family workers usually have no formal entitlement to pay and to social protection, which risks to oppose them to low wages and harsh working conditions. The book “Gender Disparities in Africa’s Labor Market”, recently published by the World Bank , confirms that more women than men work in agriculture and women are largely underrepresented in the industry and service sector.

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