Title: Decisions for Life
Acronym: DFL
Website: (not updated after 2012), This page below presents the overview
Duration: October 2008 - December 31st 2012
Funded by: MGD3 - number - BE/285-2008
Status: closed
Partners: University of Amsterdam/AIAS, Global Union UNI, WageIndicator Foundation, ITUC Brussels
Project management: Jeroen Beirnaert, Veronica Fernandez Mendez, Kamalam, Tendayi Matimba, Marieke Koning, Paulien Osse, Kea Tijdens

The overall objective of the DECISIONS FOR LIFE project is to raise awareness amongst young female workers about their employment opportunities and career possibilities, family building and the work-family balance. The lifetime decisions adolescent women face, determine not only their individual future, but also that of society: their choices are key to the demographic and workforce development of the nation. It is obvious that violence against women at the workplace will get attention.

DECISIONS FOR LIFE focuses on 14 developing countries, notably Brazil, India, Indonesia, the CIS countries Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and the southern African countries Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It targets adolescent women in the service industries because these industries employ the majority of working women aged 15-29 and because these industries are growing in (almost) all 14 countries.

The project zooms in on eight occupational groups, notably call centre operators, secretaries, bookkeepers, IT programmers, sales persons and cashiers in retail, front office workers / receptionists in hotels, travel agency intermediaries in tourism and housekeepers in hotels. It is estimated that in the 14 countries selected 10 to 12 million female adolescents aged 15-29 work in the services industries concentrated in urban areas.

DECISIONS FOR LIFE deploys two mutually reinforcing approaches to raise awareness. First, trade unions campaign through the channels at their disposal, aiming to reach 10,000 women.

These campaigns include face-to-face meetings, training sessions and dissemination of offline materials. Second, the Internet is used to reach one million women in the 8 occupational groups mentioned. Given these occupations and the urban areas where they are concentrated, it may be safely assumed that the Internet is an efficient medium for reaching them.

Moreover the project offers special websites addressing the decisions these young women face at this crucial stage in their lives. The relevant content is made accessible through playful tools and checks. Inventories underlie these tools and checks. The awareness raising information is also made available in downloadable form for offline use in the trade union campaigns.

The International Trade Union Confederation ITUC is the first applicant and provides the overall project management. Raising gender awareness and fighting against violence against wome is part of ITUC’ s long term strategy. ITUC cooperates with its affiliates in the 14 countries mentioned. In addition ITUC cooperates with global union UNI, the umbrella organization of unions in the services industries worldwide.

Moreover ITUC cooperates with the WageIndicator Foundation, which has longstanding experience in the development and operation of attractive websites on work and wages, currently operational in 35 countries.

The scientific partner of ITUC in this project is the University of Amsterdam/AIAS, specialized in worldwide inventories underlying the decent work agenda, wages, and companies’ industrial relations systems. Together these partners compose a supervisory management board that convenes on a regular basis during the project.

DECISIONS FOR LIFE is awarded a MDG3 grant from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in support of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals no 3 (MDG3): ‘Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women’.

DECISIONS FOR LIFE focuses in particular on MDG3.5: ‘Promoting formal employment and equal opportunities at the labor market’. This is one of the four MDG3 priority areas identified in Ministry’s MDG3 Fund. DECISIONS FOR LIFE runs from October 2008 until December 31st 2011.

Results in websites:

Umbrella site includes 

  • DecentWorkChecks (all WageIndicator countries up to date, including DFL countries)
  • Salary Checks (all WageIndicator countries up to date, including DFL countries)
  • Minimum Wages (all WageIndicator countries up to date, including DFL countries)


News Flashes




Sportlight interviews 

Evaluation report 

Project website



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