Africa Regional Women Committee highlights Innovative Unionism

The capital city of Mozambique Maputo hosted on 12 September, women from Africa and Middle East with a good representation of women from the Middle East for the Region Committee meeting chaired by Edna Opoku Boakye. The meeting gathered 18 women under the theme “Innovative Unionism in Trade Unions for Africa and Middle East - Building Women Structures to advance and increase women participation in Trade Unions” 

At the opening session the Representative of SINTICIM women committee welcomed all participants to Mozambique the beautiful country of Southern Africa. For Maria chair of SINTICIM women committee, trade union issues related to women in Africa should be focused and re-strategized. 

For Crecentia Mofokeng Regional Representative of BWI, this is an historic event as the BWI Region discuss the Innovative Unionism. In trade unions there are challenges faced by unions and members at large due to casualization, sub-contracting, lack of proper policies in which women are the most suffering. However, BWI and its affiliates in the region is doing well in enabling gender equity. The previous BWI congress in Bangkok adopted 30% women representation. As we move forward we have to increase women participation in collective bargaining structures and organising. 

In line with the theme of the meeting, sub regional reports have sawn tha women still work under harsh conditions such as poor Occupational Health and Safety, low wages, discrimination and intimidation, limited to social benefits, poor marternity protection etc. Since the last regional conference held in Abuja 2012 women continue to face a number of challenges. There are many concerns on women leaders, for example some women do not have mandate to make full decisions, they are not fully supported and have no specific budget for women activities at union level. Women social responsibilities that impede their participation to unions activities. 

A new approach to gender mainstreaming should reinforce the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes for the achievement of equality. 

The meeting came out with recommendations calling for pushing of women leaders participation in project processes, union networks and union structures. Women need to have collective action as women and continue to build a strong network at national level, sub regional, regional and global level. 

The Regional Women Committee meeting proposed Elizabeth Amuto from UBCCECAWU as Chairperson and Odette Bomans from FNTBB D R Congo and Wafaa Mohamed Hassan Boltia from GTUBWW Egypt for vice-chairs