Decent work agenda focusing on women media professionals in India

Decent work agenda focusing on media professional women in India. Providing study conducted by Paycheck India team on women working in media profession and its applicability.

Women and Decent Work Agenda: Case of Media professionals in India.

Decent Work is a central agenda developed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) for the employed across the world. The ILO defines Decent Work as productive work that provides equal opportunities for men and women to obtain productive work in conditions of freedom, equality, security and human dignity. This applies to both organized and unorganized workers.

Decent Work has been formulated by the core constituents of ILO i.e. governments, employers and workers. The constituents understand that productive employment against the backdrop of Decent Work will lead to poverty alleviation and social equality in the community and further the economic growth of nations. This is key objective, especially in the current hard economic times where the gap between “Haves” and “Have-nots” appears to be widening instead of closing.

The objectives of Decent Work as identified by ILO are:

  1. Creating Jobs – an economy that generates opportunities for investment, entrepreneurship, skills development, job creation and sustainable livelihoods.
  2. Guaranteeing rights at work – to obtain recognition and respect for the rights of workers. All workers, and in particular disadvantaged or poor workers, need representation, participation, and laws that protect their interests.
  3. Extending social protection – to promote both inclusion and productivity by ensuring that women and men enjoy working conditions that are safe, allow adequate free time and rest, take into account family and social values, provide for adequate compensation in case of lost or reduced income and permit access to adequate healthcare.
  4. Promoting social dialogue – Involving strong and independent workers’ and employers' organizations is central to increasing productivity, avoiding disputes at work, and building cohesive societies. [i]

Decent Work Country Programs

The ILO provides support for Decent Work programs through an integrated framework, which defines priorities and the targets within national development frameworks and strives to tackle major Decent Work deficits. ILO operates with other partners within and beyond the UN family to provide support for design and implementation of these programs. It also provides support for building the institutions needed to carry them forward and for measuring progress. The balance within these programs differs from nation to nation based on their needs, resources and priorities.

Decent Work Country Program in India

In India, ILO partnered with Indian Government, employers and workers organizations in February 2010 to adopt a ‘Decent Work Country Programme' (DWCP) [ii] with an aim to improve the working conditions of Indian workers. DWCP has been aligned with India’s 11th Five Year Plan, to strengthen policy framework for elimination of unacceptable form of work. It would also emphasis on providing decent and productive employment to workers, especially women workers. DWCPs will act as an enabler for the efficient usage of resources to achieve maximum results in alignment with the programme’s priorities.

DWCP India has set the following outcomes for itself: [iii]

  1. Decent and productive employment integrated into socio-economic policies through policy/action research
  2. Comprehensive approaches developed to address decent and productive work in selected sectors and States, with emphasis on women workers
  3. Social protection policies/programmes formulated and progressively extended
  4. Strengthened policy framework for elimination of unacceptable forms of work.

A results-based framework would be established, keeping in mind these objectives, to propagate Decent Work. ILO knowledge, instruments, advocacy and cooperation from the government and workers organisations would be sought and advanced for building and implementing a coherent and effective programme.

Decent Work for Women in Media

Paycheck India conducted exploratory research into the working conditions of women in the field of Media. Media was selected because, it is a challenging field with odd working hours and professionals experience high levels of stress. It’s a growing sector in India, that attracts large percentage of women interested to make a career.

Almost 100% of the women sampled agreed that the odd working hours take a toll on their health, but they had learnt to live with it. While all of them found their jobs challenging, but felt that they were discriminated against and their yearly increments were low. Surprisingly, despite their grievances, on the whole, they were more or less satisfied with their jobs and lives. Most of the women sampled, though working in media, were unaware of the Decent Work agenda and its details. We feel that the same situation may prevail among male professionals also. Hence there is an urgent need to build more awareness among the media professionals.

- Roshini Joy

Official website of ILO

Development Channel, 23rd Feb 2010

One World South Asia, 10th Oct 2011