The ILO’s centenary in 2019 will arrive at a time when the world of work is at a crossroads. On the heels of the Great Recession that brought global unemployment levels to 200 million and led to widespread insecurity, labour markets across the world are undergoing deep transformations. These changes oblige us to rethink what work means and what it entails. They are also challenging societies to find ways to ensure that work delivers the jobs and incomes that people need.
As part of our coverage of the 105th Session of the International Labour Conference, we sat down with experts on a whole range of topics to look at some of the biggest issues facing the world of work. These talks were broadcast live to an audience of thousands of people worldwide, who shared their thoughts and questions with our experts. Here’s a short list of some of the things that we learned.
In 1995, a group of ILO staff watched in awe as the World Conference on Women adopted a new roadmap for achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment in the years to come. This was the fourth global women’s conference in 20 years, following Mexico City in 1975, Copenhagen in 1980 and Nairobi in 1985. The roadmap called for actions to be completed five, 10, 20 years down the road.
At one point, a colleague, whose career had spanned those years turned to me and said, “why do we have to wait another 20 years?”
Twenty years on, I find myself asking the same question. It’s certainly time to assess what we’ve achieved, what needs to be done and how much longer we will have to wait.