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On March 8 we gather throughout the world to celebrate International Women’s Day. The theme for IWD 2019 is #BalanceForBetter and calls for a global push for professional and social equality.


We celebrate the women that have progressed rights throughout the region and urge governments, policy makers, and employers to address discrimination and develop innovative policies and programs to advance women’s economic and employment parity.

Discrimination and lack of equal employment opportunities are common experiences of trans people. Employment discrimination in trans communities is a human rights and public health issue. Yet, few countries in the region have anti-discrimination legislation to provide protection against discriminatory hiring practices. Lack of gender recognition and systemic barriers often ‘out’ trans people in the employment process. Lack of employment directly impacts other areas of their lives, where trans people continue to experience significant challenges and compounded discrimination that impacts their personal safety and security, access to education, adequate housing, and appropriate and compassionate healthcare. Solutions must be developed that address the many co-existing layers of that impact the lived realities of trans people.

APTN publication “Denied Work: An audit of employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity in South-East Asia” is the first research project of its kind on such a scale examining discrimination against trans people seeking employment in the region. As evidenced by the report, trans people experience significant barriers to even obtain interviews for jobs compared to similarly qualified cisgender applicants. This study is indicative of discrimination faced by trans people at the initial stages of job application. There needs to be continued research and dialogue on employment discrimination of trans people.

There are recommended actions that society, government and institutions can be enact to reduce violence and protect trans people. It is critical that trans people are the leaders in these solutions and meaningfully incorporated in everything step of the decision making process.

Today and moving forward, we urge countries and allies to step up in taking action. Ensure that in dialogues surround feminist ideals and women’s rights that these dialogues and recommendation improve the quality of life, dignity and safety of trans women.

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