News / Health

ILO: More Than 800 Million Women Lack Maternity Protection

Women march with their children to demand longer maternity leave, San Jose, Costa Rica, Jan. 18, 2013.
Women march with their children to demand longer maternity leave, San Jose, Costa Rica, Jan. 18, 2013.
Lisa Schlein
A new report by the International Labor Organization finds the large majority of women workers, at least 830 million, does not have adequate maternity protection and continue to face discrimination in the labor market.

Despite progress in maternity protection, ILO officials say motherhood remains a handicap for far too many working women.

ILO Gender, Equality and Diversity Branch Chief Shauna Olney says almost 80 percent of the 830 million women who lack maternity protection are in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

"The report also shows that some groups of workers, often female-dominated, are excluded entirely from protection in law and practice," she said. "We look at self-employed women, migrant, domestic, agricultural, casual and temporary workers, as well as indigenous and tribal workers."

The ILO has passed three conventions since 1919 that aim to protect pregnant and nursing mothers against health hazards at work, provide paid maternity leave, and protect women against discrimination and dismissal in relation to maternity. It says 66 out of 185 countries and territories have adopted at least one of these conventions.

The report also sees a gradual shift towards maternity leave periods that meet or exceed the 14-week ILO standard.

It finds only three countries in the world — the United States, Papua New Guinea and Oman — do not provide mandatory payments during maternity leave, but provide the right to voluntary unpaid maternity leave.

The ILO says the vast majority of countries explicitly prohibit discrimination during pregnancy and leave.

Report author, ILO Maternity Protection and Work-family Specialist Laura Addati, told VOA that society loses when it does not provide maternity protection.

"In terms of the consequences for societies that many women, one out of five of those who do not have access to family leave declare that their leave choice is to drop out of the labor force," she said. "This is an enormous waste of talents in terms of productivity and the role and contribution that women can make to society."

Addati also says working parents should have access to affordable child care services so women can return to work productively once their maternity leave ends.

The report says many countries are also taking measures to support working fathers, calling leave provisions for fathers most common in developed economies, Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In most instances, employers bear the full cost of benefits related to maternity and paternity leave.

The ILO recommends nations move away from employer liability and pay for maternity and paternity benefits through social insurance or public funds and social care services. It says taking this monetary weight off employers would promote non-discrimination at work.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Portugal
May 14, 2014 5:53 PM
save the women the poorest of world

by: Dr. Rolf Dirtyhorse from: San Fran
May 13, 2014 11:11 PM
If you live in California, get ready for another round of crippling taxation. Parallel to the Obamacare mandate at gunpoint, the state will expand government coverage of Medi-Cal next year. Around one third of the state’s population, more than 11 million people, will be enrolled in the program. New estimates of participation exceeded expectations by 1.4 million people.

In California, small business forced to pass expense of health care on to customers.

Gov. Jerry Weinerlick admits a diminishing base of taxpayers will come under the gun, although he doesn’t put it that way. He said the new government program represents “a huge social commitment on the part of the taxpayers of California.” Government mandated social commitments, of course, invariably arrive at gunpoint. If you disagree and refuse to pay and participate, you either end up in jail or fleeing the Golden State.

No doubt Brown’s latest scheme will drive even more producers out of California and into Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Idaho, and Utah. The experts chalk this mass migration up to “chronic economic adversity,” mostly unemployment.

Unemployment in California is high because business taxes are high. The tax-and-destroy policies of Brown and former Democrat Governor Pat Quinn have driven business and jobs out of the state. “Small companies with no clout and no leverage as well as taxpayers in general are the ones paying the price for the seriously misguided policies,” writes Mike Shelock.

So misguided, in fact, local restaurants now surcharge customers.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs