Human Rights

Human Rights

Protecting human rights remains the central theme of the contemporary world’s most important challenges. From racial discrimination protests in the US to COVID-19 pandemic sparked debates on affordable healthcare, and from concerns about mass atrocities undermining human dignity to growing debates on climate change and sustainable development –human rights have always occupied the central stage. While the fundamentals of human rights remain unchanged, the emerging challenges are nudging for reinvention of the future of transnational human rights norms.

With digitization and globalization, we live in a world of greater connectivity but paradoxically we also live in times of greater fragmentation within the international community and multilateral institutions. Rising inequality and poverty, increasing incidence of hate crimes against minority groups, threats of climate change, and oppression of women all point to inefficient and insufficient action to drive compliance to human rights. It is time, more than ever, that we need human rights to navigate through these unprecedented times and determine consolidated efforts to hold governments and citizens accountable.

At FSI, we seek to find deeper understanding and consensus on human rights related issues and how we can act as a global community to address these issues collectively and advance towards more justice, greater dignity, respect for human equality – and better solutions for the world.

Related Thought Leadership

Promoting Economic Inclusion of South Asian Transgender Community

 Promoting Economic Inclusion of South Asian Transgender Community

 

I.  Introduction

Transgender is “an umbrella term encompassing those whose gender identities or gender roles differ from those typically associated with the sex assigned at birth.” Trans people may identify themselves as a man, a woman, third gender, or non-binary.

 

During the pre-colonial era, transgender communities held sacred values and positions in the socio-cultural realm of South Asia. Presently, the trans communities are social outcasts and do not hold the same social status. The Maldives, Bhutan, and Taliban-controlled Afghanistan have criminalized transgender, while Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka legally recognize them. However, legal recognition, majorly, does not include self-identification. As a result, trans individuals unwilling to undergo sex reassignment surgery get alienated from government support services.

 

II.  Challenges for Transgender Inclusion in Economy

The ambiguous legal definitions and guidelines on trans rights lead to subjective interpretation by persons in authority. Harassment from bureaucrats is high among trans individuals. Inability to access available resources and excessive harassment from authorities make promoting the economic and social inclusion of the trans community challenging.  

 

Sex work and panhandling are the two dominant income sources for trans individuals. Despite the emergence of better economic opportunities, young trans individuals continue to be isolated from them. Amidst the larger society’s existing prejudice, substantial limitation in economic attainment also comes from within the trans community itself. 

 

Within South Asian transgender communities, gurus hold the position of guardians. They mobilize and manage the community members, particularly for their economic sustenance. These senior gurus discourage young members from finding employment outside the stereotyped yet dominant income avenues. The internal restrictions also hinder trans individuals from developing adequate intra- and inter-personal skills. 

 

III. Best Practices for Transgender Inclusion in South Asian Economy

South Asian social enterprises are intervening to change the perception within the trans community and that of potential employers. PeriFerry, a non-profit startup based in India, provides skill-development training to trans individuals. Upon training completion, the organization provides the trainees with employment opportunities in the IT, communication, and entrepreneurship sectors. 

 

Private companies and non-profit organizations are emerging as allies of trans-inclusion in South Asia. Partnering with transgender advocacy organizations, gendering entry-level corporate roles, and using targeted vacancy advertisements are mechanisms adopted by companies to provide employment opportunities for the trans communities. Companies like Amazon, Accenture India, Unilever Pakistan, and ThoughtWorks are a few leading institutions supporting the trans community’s economic inclusion in South Asia. 

There is increasing targeted intervention and sensitization among recruiters in the hiring process for trans individuals. Upon hiring, some companies also provide three to six months long training modules for trans individuals, if needed, to adequately develop the required skillsets for enhanced productivity. AkzoNobel India, partners with National Small Industries Corp, to provide training at their dedicated paint academy in Delhi to trans individuals. 

 

But, despite getting competitive salaries and benefits for their engagement, a significant number of hired trans individuals are quitting within a few months of recruitment, primarily due to workplace discrimination. Re-evaluation and re-structuring of infrastructures, resources, and work environment are required to increase retention of transgender employees. 

 

a.       Infrastructure Development for Trans Individuals

Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) initiatives in South Asia are installing gender-neutral toilet facilities in public spaces. Such facilities allow trans individuals to choose between cis-gendered or non-binary toilet facilities based on their comfort level. Trans individuals often face harassment in binary gendered toilets. So, the availability of a third option provides a relatively safer space for trans individuals in public places. The establishment of non-binary toilet infrastructures in the workplace shows positive outcomes, as observed in Western countries, in employee engagement, employee-workplace relationship, sensitization of work environment, and productivity enhancement of trans employees. South Asian companies should provide a non-binary toilet infrastructural option to develop a more trans-inclusive workplace.   

 

There is growing evidence linking mental health and workplace productivity. Companies are incorporating mental health awareness and counseling services for their employees. When hiring, companies can get counselors more experienced with trans individuals. Prior experience can allow counselors to develop effective targeted interventions within companies. Furthermore, specialized counseling provides a more accommodating environment for transgender employees.

 

 

b.       Restructuring of Companies’ Internal Policies

                                                               i.      Human Resource Management

Human resource management plays a vital role in making trans individuals comfortable in the work environment. HR and managers should not disclose trans individuals’ identities to other employees without consent. Allowing trans individuals to reveal their identities on their terms fosters a good HR-employee relationship. Furthermore, promoting the usage of trans individuals’ preferred pronouns is encouraged. In IBM, employees can choose their pronouns on the internal HR tool.

 

Trans individuals also have social names. A majority of South Asian countries do not let trans people adopt their social names without gender certification. Countries availing such provisions have a complex bureaucratic process, rendering legal name change challenging. Using social names of trans individuals in companies promotes mental well-being while simultaneously reducing adverse health outcomes. Usage of preferred pronouns and social names enables a welcoming environment for trans employees while promoting sensitization through normalization.

Awareness and sensitization workshops are equally required to foster a positive relationship between employees. Non-profit organizations like Akhuwat, a non-profit organization based in Pakistan, and PeriFerry provide sensitization resources and programs to support transgender awareness in companies. Furthermore, they also conduct routined surveys to ensure the proper implementation of and suggest recommendations, as required, to make policies more trans-friendly. Third-party monitoring and evaluation ensure the company’s accountability for promoting transgender inclusivity within the workplace. 

 

                                                             ii.      Employee Benefit Packages 

Some trans individuals desire to undergo sex reassignment surgeries. But, the high cost discourages many from doing so, which might negatively impact their perception of themselves. Insurance companies like Ayushman Bharat offer health packages for trans communities, which also cover sex-reassignment surgery costs. The Pakistani government also provides insurance coverage for reconstructive surgery of trans individuals. Companies can capitalize on these on these schemes to ensure the accessibility of their trans employees to appropriate medical insurance packages. Furthermore, companies like Plum, IBM, Godrej Group, La-Lit, and Tech Mahindra also provide medical insurance coverage for same-sex partners of transgender employees.

 

Paid leaves for transgender are equally important. Zomato, an Indian company, provides ten-day paid period leave annually for transwomen employees. Ferns N Petals, another Indian company, plans to extend its seven-day paternity leave to any transgender fathers in their permanent employment, provided they have up to two children. Companies should also consider providing paid medical leaves for transgender employees undergoing gender reassignment surgeries.

 

IV. Conclusion and Recommendation

From a legal standpoint, South Asia generally has progressive policies to enable the social and economic inclusion of transgender communities in the larger society. But, the ambiguous policies and the complex bureaucratic process alienate trans individuals’ access to government support schemes. South Asian non-profit and private sectors are stepping up to promote the economic inclusion of transgender communities. Moving forward, companies should: 

  1. Increase targeted vacancy advertisements for transgender communities; 
  2. Provide specialized training, upon hiring, to improve trans employees’ skillsets as required for enhanced productivity; 
  3. Provide optional non-binary toilet in addition to cis-gendered toilet infrastructures for trans employees; 
  4. Provide specialized professional counseling services to improve the mental well-being of trans employees at the workplace;
  5. Conduct awareness and sensitization workshops and seminars across the workplace for the normalization of transgender employees;
  6. Involve transgender employees or advocacy organizations in routine monitoring and evaluation of corporate policies and of the work environment;  
  7. Provide appropriate medical insurance catering to the needs of transgender employees; 
  8. Avail paid leaves for transmen and transwomen as provisioned for cis-gendered employees in addition to appropriate paid medical leaves for transgender employees undergoing sex reassignment surgeries.    

 

 Article by Shreya Khakurel, Intern,  Frost & Sullivan Institute  

 

#HumanRights #economicinclusion #transgender 

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How does education play a role in generating skilled workforce in Switzerland?

ABSTRACT

Switzerland ranked as the best education system in the world but ranked third overall in the entire human capital report. Switzerland’s education system is one of the most advanced in the world. This distinctive characteristic of the Swiss education system is taking into account the wishes and the abilities of students. This attribute is done by diversifying the different directions a student can take once they’re done with their education. at the same time, there are few sectors where it gets flatter. It is analyzed in detail perspective and the suggestion that brings out the best practice to eradicate the same is mentioned here.

___________________________________________________________________________

  

There is a clear and strong correlation between the educational attainment of a state’s workforce and median wages in the state. States can build a strong foundation for economic success and shared prosperity by investing in education. Providing expanded access to high quality education will not only expand economic opportunity for residents, but also likely do more to strengthen the overall state economy than anything else a state government can do. States can increase the strength of their economies and their ability to grow and attract high-wage employers by investing in education and increasing the number of well-educated workers. Investing in education is also good for state budgets in the long run, since workers with higher incomes contribute more through taxes over the course of their lifetimes. Skill acquisition is measured directly through subjective assessments. We find that higher educated workers are more likely to acquire additional skills. While this is primarily explained by between and within the occupation effects. Over educated workers with a vocational degree acquire fewer transferable and additional skills compared to similar educational backgrounds. Thus, higher-educated employees are more likely to acquire skills during their first jobs than lower-educated people. And this is very applicable for Switzerland which possess skilled workforce.

 

TABLE 1 : SWITZERLAND HIGHER EDUCATION ATTAINMENT

 

YEAR

SHARE OF EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT OF THOSE AGED 25

2014

88%

2015

88.2%

2016

88.5%

2017

88.8%

2018

88.9%

2019

90.2%

2020

90.1%

2021

90.3%

 SOURCE: World Bank Data.

 

There is a high consensus among economists that education is one of the key determinants of people’s earnings. According to the human capital theory by Mincer, education is an investment that increases the market skills and productivity of individuals who undertake it. Consequently, these individuals earn higher wages in the labor market for their higher skills and productivity. While monetary returns to education take the form of higher earnings that people command in the labor market, there may also be non-monetary returns since higher education is often associated with psychic gains, such as increased respect from others. Like any other investment decision, investing in human capital through education entails costs that are borne in the short term with the expectation that benefits will be captured in the long term. The question of whether returns to education are high enough to justify the costs of additional education is an important question, not only for individuals but also for policymakers. It is often argued that government policies can improve the economic well-being of the poor by subsidizing their education, offering loans for college students, and imposing minimum education requirements. The typical method for estimating the rate of returns to education requires data on the earnings and levels of education of different individuals, along with estimations of the percentage change in earnings. The discussion above assumes that education increases individuals’ earnings by raising their productivity. An alternative argument is that education can increase earnings even if it does not make individuals more productive. The most common approach for determining the rate of returns to education includes data on different individuals’ wages and levels of education, as well as estimates of the percentage change in earnings. The preceding explanation implies that education boosts people’s wages through increasing their productivity. Another point is that education can enhance incomes even if individuals weren’t more productive. 

 

Switzerland was an impoverished country in the nineteenth century, with a major portion of the people surviving on subsistence farming. The number of job opportunities has expanded as a result of rapid urbanisation and industrial expansion. Because Switzerland has so many multinational corporations, the demand for job seekers increased, and more people were employed at the same time. However, this is only applicable to the business and manufacturing sectors. This indicates that the service sector dominates the Swiss economy. Switzerland’s tourism business is booming, with jobs in the hospitality industry available all around the country. Many international workers, particularly those with advanced degrees, find work in Switzerland. 

 

Professionals can improve their earning potential by honing and honing their abilities and skills. Switzerland has placed a higher focus on making an educational system capable of producing individuals capable of working in emerging sectors such as healthcare and industry. A push to strengthen the public’s basic education arose as well, with a growing notion that everyone has the right to an education. Better-trained people stimulate good outcomes and economic consequences throughout the society. In other sense, sense, having a skilled labour source from which to acquire personnel is an external aspect that all businesses profit too.

 

TABLE 2: EMPLOYMENT RATE OF SWITZERLAND

YEAR

EMPLOYMENT IN MILLIONS

2014

4.82

2015

4.9

2016

4.97

2017

5.01

2018

5.07

2019

5.1

2020

5.09

2021

5.1

2022*

5.14

*-on the basis of speculation

SOURCE: World Bank Data.

 

 

Nonetheless, because the labour market is so limited, it can be difficult for international graduates to find job. Job competition is tough, especially as Swiss firms have begun to favour locals over foreigners in recent years. International workers may have a better chance in major Swiss cities than in smaller towns and villages. However, the cost of living in Swiss cities is considerable, which is offset by the country’s high incomes. 

 

Switzerland is currently experiencing a labour shortage in the following areas: 

Engineering   

Financial services  

Information Technology   

Pharmaceuticals. 

 

TABLE 3 : EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT RATE AND LABOUR RATE IN CONCERN TO EMPLOYMENT SHORTAGE SECTORS

 

NAME OF THE SECTOR

EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT RATE

LABOUR RATE

Engineering        

68.66%

44.2%

Financial service

76.3%

39.27%

Information technology

81.5%

57.6%

Pharmaceuticals

88.7%

67.4%

SOURCE: OECD Data.

 

Graduates with these abilities and qualifications, on the other hand, are in high demand. How can we resolve the issue in the same manner? 

 

1.Engineering  

Engineering advancement and innovation are always changing. Technological breakthroughs occur on a regular basis. Prior to anything else, mastery of the subject is required. Candidates with some practical experience are preferred by employers. The frameworks/skills required by the corporate sector and those being learned by students are vastly different. This particular requirement of enabling comprehensive and intense experience learning is missing among the many up-skilling and re-skilling options accessible. As a result, the large skill-to-technical-changes divide must be bridged. 

 

2. Financial Service  

Starting a career in finance requires a combination of experience and education. Finance education can also educate students to financial concepts and essential information that they can apply in their future careers. An apprenticeship allows you to gain experience in the financial industry while learning more about it. Graduates must conduct research in order to gain a better understanding of the financial system. This will provide an opportunity for exposure. As a result, in finance occupations, academic competence and the ability to deal with numbers are required. 

 

3. Information Technology  

Only with the support of the IT sector can a prosperous economic growth be achieved. The pattern or character of growth, on the other hand, is important. Economic growth has an impact on the development of productive jobs not just because of the rate of increase, but also because of the efficiency with which growth is translated into productive jobs. When there is breakthrough in IT, the efficiency of diversification can be improved. Because the constraint operates as a roadblock to providing an efficient output rate, the answer may be to expand international trade and adjust the employment market on a regular basis. This may result in an increase in a company’s overall earnings. 

 

4. Pharmaceuticals   

Jobs in pharmacies and pharmacies may not be the same as they were in the past. According to recent assessments, it is a profession that will continue to be in demand. Regardless of the changes that occur around it, pharmacy will always be an employees service that revolves around patients and medicine. The pharmaceutical and biomedical industries both rely heavily on research. New drugs, composition and quality integration, toxicity tests, and the establishment of drug testing are all tasks that trained field workers must complete. 

 

SUMMARY OF FINDING AND CONCLUSION

The pay scale is put under downturn as the labour supply grows. Wages frequently fall when employers’ demand for workers does not keep up with the labour supply. Employees in industries with minimal barriers to entry for new employees—those with occupations that don’t require a degree or any specialised training—are particularly harmed by an excess supply of labour. In contrast, sectors that demand more knowledge and training tend to pay greater earnings. The higher compensation is owing to a limited labour supply capable of operating in certain industries, as well as the large costs of required education and training. A successful economy has a workforce that can operate industries at a level that gives it a competitive advantage over other countries’ economies. Nations attempt to incentivize training through tax breaks, training facilities, and a number of other methods aimed at producing a better competent workforce.

A prosperous economy has a workforce that can operate areas of the economy at a level that creates a competitive advantage over other economies’ gdp. Nations may attempt to incentivize training through tax incentives, the provision of training facilities, or a variety of other methods aimed at producing a better competent workforce. Since educated people can more precision and reliability out tasks that involve reading and critical thinking, a country’s economy becomes more productive as the proportion of skilled employees increases.


Article by Samyuktha Subramaniam, Intern,  Frost & Sullivan Institute  

 

#Education  #skilledworkforce 

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