Track 4 – Women workers issues and gender equality

back to programme overview

Gender equality and the empowerment of women require a critical view on modern society and world of work. In particular, they require a change of the general framework. Real equality requires more than the implementation of the “Equal pay – Equal Treatment” principle. Economic globalisation and patriarchal structures cast their shadows on the living and working environment of women in various ways. And so, the workshops will consider labour migration, the impact of violence against women, traditional gender roles and implications for the empowerment of women in the Arab countries and the equality of women in trade union structures.

Workshops we are exploring at this point in time include:

Domestic Workers  – Global Families, Global Solidarity
Neoliberal globalisation has forced (and enabled) women to migrate and pursue livelihoods far from their homes. Nowadays, half of all migrants in the world are women; many of them are domestic workers. Nannies, caregivers and house-cleaners keep our communities running by supporting our families and our homes. But often, they are excluded from labour rights. Most of them have precarious jobs and are left to work without many key legal protections. Fighting for these rights is difficult as their jobs are not accepted as regular jobs, and also because of the insulation on the job in the houses of their employers, and last but not least because of their often precarious migrant status, sometimes as as people without papers. As a result many are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation on the job.
This sector was perceived as being too difficult to organise for a long time, but organisations like the International Domestic Workers Network (IDWN) have begun to build a strong network that unites domestic workers globally to protect and advance domestic workers’ rights everywhere. There campaign combined organizing on the ground with a push for regulation at global level, which finally led to the adoption of ILO Convention C189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers in June 2011.
How is the Convention being used? How are domestic workers organizing? What are strategies to protect the rights of domestic workers and to organise at local, national and global level?

Gender Based Violence – Strategies for Strong Activism and Empowerment
The elimination of violence against women is an essential part of the fight for gender equality and the empowerment of women. Gender inequality breeds gender violence, and violence in turn increases inequality. Gender based violence affects women in all societies of the world, but because of existing social inequalities it has its most effects on ethnic minorities, migrants and the poor.
We´d like to focus on violence at the workplace and the influence of domestic violence on the job. We will show and discuss different strategies and campaigns that fight against gender based violence and empowers women to fight for their rights.

Workers Struggles for Gender Equality in Muslim Countries – Beyond Stereotypes
Arab women have closed the gender gap in education in many countries. Women become more educated than men but are still expected to enter into traditional marital arrangements. Moreover, due to prevailing social attitudes and a lack of attention to women’s rights in the labour market in Arab societies, large numbers of women remain unemployed or economically inactive, filling traditional gender roles as mothers and housewives.
What are the challenges for trade unions in this situation,  and how do  (women?) workers struggle for gender equality in Muslim countries?

Equal Opportunities for Women in Their Unions
Women all around the world are the majority of the workers. They are increasingly moving into work and into trade union membership, Trade unions regard the principle of gender and equality as essential to achieving sustainable development and true social justice for everyone. Therefore most of them carry out programmes, campaigns and other activities in order to reach this goal within the organisations, who will, in turn, act as advocates and role models at local level. Therefore trade unions implement women committees and establish gender quotas and special seats in order to advance and to ensure women representation.
back to programme overview