U.N. Labor Agency Reports on Worldwide Discrimination Trends

According to the International Labor Organization, subtle forms of workplace discrimination continue to affect women, gay men and lesbians, and people with HIV/AIDS

New and subtler forms of workplace discrimination continue to affect women, gay men and lesbians, and people living with HIV/AIDS, according to a report released by the International Labor Organization on May 10.

The 180-nation ILO, the U.N. labor agency that brings together governments, employers and unions, examined global working conditions to conclude that women remain especially prone to labor discrimination. While more women are joining the work force around the world, in every geographical region they are paid less than men for the same jobs, and women hold a glaring minority of legislative and senior official or managerial positions, particularly in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Discrimination against gay men and lesbians, only recently recognized as intolerable in many nations, continues to be prompted by the fact that homosexuality remains illegal in more than 75 countries. Furthermore, the ILO says the use of AIDS tests is extremely widespread in screening job seekers, despite laws specifically prohibiting the practice.

U.S. data was not available for comparison, the ILO said. Americans were prominent in shaping the ILO in the 1950s, but the United States stands alone as the only industrialized nation yet to commit to its seminal accords on equal pay or anti-discrimination.