Workplace Discrimination Growing, ILO Reports

The International Labour Organization yesterday released its most comprehensive report on workplace discrimination to date, saying it found major successes and failures alike. "Equality at work: Tacking the challenges" was meant to provide a global snapshot -- the first since a similar report by ILO in 2003.

Gender gaps in employment and pay are common, the report says, with a 15 percent differential found throughout the European Union. Female labor force participation has risen to 56.6 percent worldwide, which ILO considers a good sign -- but the percentage is only 32 percent in the Middle East and North Africa, against 71.1 percent in North American and 62 percent in the EU, East Asia, and the Pacific.

The report also says the need to combat discrimination at work is more urgent than it was four years ago "in the face of a world that appears increasingly unequal, insecure and unsafe." It says discrimination on the basis of race, religion, social origin, caste, sexual orientation, HIV/AIDS status, and disability are concerns. So is discrimination against migrant workers and even against younger and older workers, the report says.

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