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close this bookABC of Women Workers' Rights and Gender Equality (ILO; 2000; 124 pages)
View the documentThe International Labour Organization
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View the documentPreface to the earlier ABC of women workers' rights
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Open this folder and view contentsIntroduction: Labour standards promoting women workers' rights and gender equality (Ingeborg Heide1)
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Girl child labourers

Child labour includes all forms of employment or work done by children under a given age, but work which is detrimental to a child's health, welfare and development is particularly harmful. All children engaged in child labour are the subject of concern. However, girls deserve particular attention as discrimination against them frequently results in their being especially vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, as well as the denial of their rights. Girls are more likely:

• to start working at an earlier age;

• to be paid less for the same type of work;

• to be concentrated in sectors and areas characterized by low pay and long hours;

• to be working in sectors which are hidden and unregulated, making them more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse;

• to be working in sectors which pose excessive dangers to their health, safety and welfare;

• to be subject to sexual, physical and emotional abuse;

• to be excluded from education;

• to be responsible for housework; and

• to suffer the triple burden of housework, school work and economic work.

Convention No. 182 and Recommendation No. 190, of 1999, on the prohibition of the worst forms of child labour and immediate action for their elimination, specifically stress the need to " take account of the special situation of girls". Some methods for doing so would be:

• to place explicit emphasis on girls as a target group in any action plans or direct action programmes aimed at eliminating child labour;

• to concentrate on those economic sectors where many girls are found (i.e. prostitution, domestic work, agriculture and manufacturing);

• to ensure that, where possible, projects run for " visible working boys " also target "invisible working girls";

• to target the poorest (i.e. single female-headed households) and involve mothers together with fathers in projects for child workers;

• to link up with efforts to promote education for girls; and

• to mobilize women's organizations and activists.

C. 182: Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999
R. 190: Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999

→ see also Child labour

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