So, where’s the green jobs gender agenda?

There’s nothing green about inequality, unions and social justice campaigners have argued. And a new union report advances the idea, warning that gender equality, commonly an afterthought in employment and work quality policy discussions, needs to be front and centre in the green jobs debate.

Women workers and green jobs: employment, equity and equality, published in draft in October by Sustainlabour and the global union confederation ITUC, notes: “Green economy initiatives which aim at creating more environmentally-sound economies may not fully incorporate fundamental social requirements such as income equity, job quality and gender equality. If they do not take account of these social factors, they may maintain or even aggravate the negative social and distributive trends of the traditional economy including existing inequalities and gender gaps.”

The report explores the potential for creating new jobs worldwide in sectors such as renewable energy, green construction, and alternative automotive production, and concludes this will largely depend on what stimulus policies are adopted. It adds that “government and union action is required to raise the proportion of green jobs filled by women and to ensure the quality of those jobs.” The union approach has a five step action plan, to increase the number of women who are:

 1. Employed: through anti-discrimination laws and family-friendly mandates;

2. Recruited for non-traditional jobs: through quotas and targeted schemes;

3. Trained in green jobs skills: through specialized apprenticeship and training initiatives;

4. Paid equitably: by reducing gender-based job segmentation and wage gaps; and

5. Organised: through increasing the union membership of women in potential green sectors.

 ITUC and Sustainlabour say that the union movement overall stands to benefit from a green jobs approach that embeds a genuine gender dimension. The report concludes: “Increased efforts by unions to organise women in the emerging green economy will contribute to the power and sustainability of the labour movement. It will simultaneously advance environmental and social well-being in the long-term interests of both men and women.

 “Green jobs should be unionised jobs where concerted efforts are made to employ, recruit, train, pay equitably and organise women.”

 Draft report [pdf].


L’action gouvernementale et syndicale est nécessaire pour augmenter la proportion d’emplois verts occupés par les femmes et de garantir la qualité des ces emplois. Des mesures doivent être prise pour accroitre le nombre de femmes :

1. Employées : en établissant des lois contre la discrimination et des mandats favorables aux familles ;

2. Recrutées en emplois non-traditionnels : par des quotas et projets ciblés ;

3. Formées à des techniques vertes : par des apprentissages spécialisés et des initiatives de formation ;

4. Rémunérées équitablement : en réduisant la segmentation du marché du travail liée à la discrimination et aux écarts salariaux ; et

5. Organisées : à travers une adhésion syndicale accrue des femmes dans des secteurs potentiellement verts.

 la version en français du rapport [pdf].



Es necesario que tanto los gobiernos como las organizaciones sindicales actúen para aumentar la proporción de empleos verdes ocupados por mujeres y para asegurar la calidad de esos empleos. Deberían tomarse medidas para incrementar el número de mujeres: 

1. Empleadas: a través de legislación antidiscriminatoria y disposiciones que tengan en cuenta a la familia;

2. Contratadas para trabajos no tradicionales: por medio de cupos y de planes destinados específicamente a las mujeres;

3. Con formación en habilidades específicas de los empleos verdes: con iniciativas de aprendizaje y formación especializadas;

4. Con salario equitativo: mediante la reducción de la segmentación laboral y las diferencias remunerativas por razón de sexo.

5. Organizadas: por medio de una mayor sindicalización de las mujeres en sectores verdes potenciales.

 Consulta el informe borrador aquí.

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