To mark International Women’s Day 2023, ILO’s experts have commented on the issues and complexities that women face in the workplace around the world.

The new Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill recently introduced some of the most significant changes to workplace discrimination law in the United Kingdom since 2010, as David Lorimer and Bethan Carney from Lewis Silkin LLP report. In Hungary, Dániel Gera and Dóra Halmosi from Schoenherr discuss the Labour Code, which establishes that all aspects of employment, including remuneration, must be treated equally. Over in the Netherlands, Hans Mulder and Laurens de Graaf from BarentsKrans detail the progress around equal treatment and opportunity, from appointment to equal pay and promotion.

Despite the progress, there is still much work to be done around the globe to ensure that discrimination and sexual harassment are eradicated, and that issues such as equal pay and maternity leave are fully and fairly resolved. Here are the latest efforts.

Discrimination and harassment

To prevent the silencing of whistle-blowers and victims of abuse, discrimination and harassment, the Canadian Bar Association recently passed a resolution discouraging the use of non-disclosure agreements in Canada, as KPMG Law’s Jillian Frank, Maciej Lipinski and Qasid Iqbal report. In Denmark, Yvonne Frederiksen at Norrbom Vinding explains how new targets are being set to combat underrepresentation in the workplace; while over in Italy, Annamaria Pedroni from Stanchi Studio Legale discusses how a new gender equality certificate, which private employers can obtain, promises to be an important step in equal gender policies for companies and is likely to motivate employers to support women in the workplace.

In India, the government is thinking of ways to boost female labour workforce participation, as Trilegal’s Atul Gupta, Kanishka Maggon and Tania Gupta explain. Over in China, Wan Zhang and Xu Yexi from JunHe LLP report on the recent Law on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women Employment.

Meanwhile, Patricia Yeung from Howse Williams offers an overview of equality in the Hong Kong workplace. Turkey has similar laws in place to combat discrimination specifically regarding the recruitment process and termination of employment, as Asena Aytuğ Keser and Kardelen Özden from Gün + Partners discuss.

In Norway, the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act offers protection concerning all aspects of employment, although involuntary part-time work remains a challenge, Ole Kristian Olsby and Mari Vindedal from Homble Olsby | Littler explain.

Equal pay

In the United States, FordHarrison LLP’s Consuela Pinto discusses the latest pay disclosure laws and current pay reporting requirements. Over in Germany, Svenja Fries from Mayer Brown explains that the General Act on Equal Treatment prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination in the workplace – the Act also defines “equal work” when it comes to establishing equal pay. 

In Israel, despite the Equal Pay for Male and Female Employees Law, Inbal Palmor Dori and Hilit Cohen-Resnizky from Efrat Deutsch & Co remind us that there is still a long way to go to combat the long-standing wage gaps in practice. In Solsidus Law’s latest article, Stella Koukounis discusses current legislation to promote women’s advancement in Cyprus, particularly in the Cypriot corporate world.

Maternity leave

In Brazil, a new law grants a supplementary 60-day maternity leave in some instances, as well as incentives for day-care allowances and more flexible working times, as Patricia Barboza and Pedro Azevedo from CGM Advogados report. Over in the Philippines, Rashel Ann Pomoy and Roy Santos Necesario from Villaraza & Angangco announce that the Expanded Maternity Leave Act recently increased maternity leave to 105 days. Meanwhile, in Spain, Helena Monzón from CMS Albiñana & Suarez de Lezo explains how the courts will evaluate both objective and subjective factors when reaching a decision involving gender.

Finally, Lewis Silkin LLP’s Tom Heys, Laura Ensor and Linda Hynes discuss the progress on embracing equity in Ireland, including regarding recruitment, retention and competitive remuneration packages. They also address proposals under the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill that encompass several aspects of childbirth and maternity.