Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, United States

Decent work for Women: A case for Living Wages

The People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Kingdom of the Netherlands cordially invite you to join an event on Decent Work for Women, to be held on the margins of the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York. This event will be held on the 10th of March, between 3 – 4:15 PM, in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium at UN Headquarters.

Concept Note

Decent Work for Women: A Case for Living Wages

The People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Kingdom of the Netherlands cordially invite you to join an event on Decent Work for Women, to be held on the margins of the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York. This event will be held on the 10th of March, between 3 – 4:15 PM, in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium at UN Headquarters.

Context

Labour is a vital element in global production and supply chains. At the beginning of many chains, the majority of the workers are women. Much of their work is unskilled labour that is the least valued. Often, the women workers are poorly paid and their rights are inadequately protected.

For instance in the export-oriented Ready-Made Garment (RMG) sector in Bangladesh there are over two million workers, 80-85% of whom are women. Bangladesh has made great strides over the past decades in addressing gender disparities within its economy and society, and in raising minimum wages. These achievements have been widely acknowledged, especially in the context of achieving the MDGs.

From Africa to Europe, from Latin America to Asia, securing living wages for workers is a global issue. Despite progress made, women in manufacturing still earn short of a living wage in many countries in Asia. A living wage is a wage that meets the basic needs of workers and their families, including food, housing, clothing and other expenses, such as education and health care. This is important to ensure their dignity and well-being. The importance of living wages was recognized during the European Conference on Living Wages in Berlin, co-hosted by the Netherlands and Germany (November 2013). At this conference, a coalition for living wages was formed and a concrete Action Plan was adopted. A key element of this Action Plan is the formation of strategic partnerships between companies, governments, international organizations, trade unions and civil society for the benefit of workers, including their access to living wages. Together these actors can create conditions in which living wages are not only a cost to companies, but costs that are compensated by important business opportunities and benefits.

During the side event, the case for living wages will be presented and illustrated with best practices. You are most welcome to participate and share your experiences!

Panel  

 •    Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands

•    Abdul Momen, Bangladesh Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in New York (tbc)

•    Jenny Holdcroft, Policy Director at IndustriALL Global Union

•    Pierre Borjesson, Senior Sustainability Specialist at H&M

•    Ashim Roy, Steering Committee Asia Floor Wage Alliance

First referent    •    German Government

Facilitator     •    HIVOS