15 August 2018 | Brief

Labour rights for women in the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam: Protection, Equality, Disruption


The report summarises the degree to which each country has implemented both core labour standards based on international conventions such as the equal remuneration convention and the minimum wage convention, as well as domestic labour laws such as maternity leave and non-discrimination laws.

Labour legislation as related to gender equality is considered through four key categories: laws that specifically protect women; laws that protect women as mothers; laws that formally enact gender equality, such as non-discrimination laws; and laws that challenge and disrupt social norms around work and care, and the public and the private separation.

The report also considers the theoretical debates around the impact that labour legislation can have on women’s empowerment, including the necessity of applying a gender lens to the typically ‘gender blind’ analyses of labour law.


  • The report finds that labour laws in the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam share a number of common features including: legislation for maternity leave with pay; equal pay and remuneration for women; prohibition of domestic violence; and, more recently, legislated paternity leave.
  • However, in other areas there are notable gaps between the different labour laws in each country.
  • In particular, the report finds that the Philippines is the most progressive in its adoption of legislation, whereas Myanmar has still not adopted laws covering: protection for female night workers; menstrual leave; domestic workers; and sexual harassment.
  • None of the four countries in the study has labour laws guaranteeing jobs for women returning for maternity leave or domestic violence leave from work.




  • Theoretical debates of impact of legislation – on women
  • Labour force participation rate, 2016
  • Share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector
  • Core Labour Standards
  • National labour laws – summary
  • Observation and Trends
  • Logics of labour legislation and gender equality
  • Conclusions

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