Gender equality in labour policies, practices highlighted

Rokiah Mahmud

ASEAN member states aim to mainstream the principles of gender equality in labour and employment policies and practices, in line with international standards towards gender equality in the world of work and decent work for all.

This was stated by Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong at the G20 Labour and Employment Minister’s Meeting via online at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) in Bandar Seri Begawan yesterday.

The minister said, “ASEAN Labour Ministers had adopted a statement on the Future of Work, which emphasises a collective intention to improve education and training standards to harness technology; to increase the labour force participation of women and vulnerable social groups; to promote fiscally sustainable public and private national social protection initiatives; and to support efforts for collective representation and social dialogue.

“In June last year, ASEAN heads of state adopted the ASEAN Declaration on Human Resources Development for the Changing World of Work and Its Roadmap during the 36th ASEAN Summit. This forward-looking declaration re-emphasised the need for life-long learning and cooperation with the private sector and inter-agency collaboration.

“It also calls for the creation of an implementation roadmap to translate the aspirations of the ASEAN Declaration into concrete strategies and actions that will complement the work plans of ASEAN Labour Ministers, ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting, the ASEAN TVET Council and other relevant sectoral bodies – towards the attainment of ASEAN’s Vision 2025 of a people-oriented, people-centred ASEAN Community in line with the theme for Brunei Darussalam ASEAN Chairmanship 2021 ‘We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper’,” the minister said.

Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong at the meeting. PHOTO: ROKIAH MAHMUD

The session was officiated by Italian Minister of Labour and Social Policies Andrea Orlando, who invited Brunei Darussalam as Chair of ASEAN 2021 and had the opportunity to share some of the progressive and meaningful work that ASEAN member states have initiated as deliverables for this year in respect of the priorities proposed by the chair of the G20 2021.

Representatives from international organisations exchanged ideas, policies and good practices on the impact of the pandemic on the world of work; the OECD, ILO and World Bank Group presented their most recent studies on remote work, the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on employment and the skills that will be most in-demand in the labour market in light of the on-going transitions in the world of work.

The exchange of views among the representatives of various governments and organisations focussed on the G20 labour and employment priorities such as more, better and equally paid jobs for women: stepping up efforts towards the Brisbane target, social protection systems in a changing world of work and working patterns, business organisation and productions process in the era of digitalisation.

Permanent Secretary (Security, Welfare and Law) at the MoHA Mohd Amir Hairil bin Haji Mahmud and Commissioner of Labour Muhammad Saufi bin Haji Ibrahim along with senior officers from the MoHA and Labour Department were also present.