The IOE recognises that, in general, women face unique challenges throughout various stages of employment. The specific nature of these challenges and the means to address them depends on the national, social, cultural and economic contexts in which they live and work.

Business has a role to play in the promotion of gender equality. It is generally in an employer's interest to promote workplaces that are free from discrimination against women and to ensure that decisions related to employment are based on an individual’s merit rather than gender. In this context, employers do not support the use of quotas to achieve equality, which can serve to undermine the credibility of women but the effective elimination of barriers to equal access to training and education, recruitment and career development opportunities.

The IOE’s field of work includes:

  • Collaboration with the International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW International) : The IOE works in partnership with BPW International to develop strategies, share networks and promote intercultural understanding to encourage workplace diversity, gender equality and women’s empowerment across the business community.
  • The IOE works in collaboration with the ILO Bureau for Employers' Activities (ACT/EMP) to provide first hand support and guidance at country level.
  • The IOE works cooperatively and participates in global policy framework discussions with the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD, BIAC, to jointly advance the business case for gender diversity and women’s economic empowerment.
  • The IOE supports the adoption of ILO Convention on Discrimination (Employment and Occupation), No. 111, and promotes the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, which includes non-discrimination with respect to employment and occupation and informs the labour principles of the UN Global Compact.

Access the IOE Policy Brief on Women's Economic Empowerment