On the 2nd and 3rd of March 2018, the BWI MENA Arab Women’s Network highlighted challenges faced by women and set up the strategy for the MENA region. This was done while focusing on the three key BWI strategic objectives of Building, Defending and Advancing as well as the Strategy’s 7 Convergences. This third meeting was held in Beirut, Lebanon.
Participants highlighted the numerous challenges faced by women in the MENA region including the reluctance of women to participate in union work, Arab women exposition to violence and sexual abuse in all its forms, discrimination between men and women in holding leadership positions, lack of access of women with special abilities to work opportunities that cater to their special needs, women’s irregular employment and forced labor market exit.
In addition, the meeting was an opportunity for MENA women to listen to BWI Regional Representative, Crecentia Mofokeng, who presented the BWI 2018-2021 Strategic Plan. This was followed by having BWI MENA Project Coordinator Wassim Rifi lead discussions on setting up the Arab Women’s Work Strategy for the MENA region. This was done while focusing on the three key BWI strategic objectives of Building, Defending and Advancing as well as the Strategy’s 7 Convergences.
The outcome of the participant’s work on the 2018-2021 strategy is:
Right to stand up and be represented in trade unions and decision-making processes.
Increase the participation of women in meetings by no less than 30%.
Considering the conditions of women in social organizations and trade union meetings.
Participation of women in solving trade union problems and their presence in trade union committees.
Enabling decent and working conditions for women and taking into account occupational health and safety and the provision of health insurance.
Application of laws and international conventions guaranteeing the rights of women workers.
Promote women's participation in collective bargaining
Capacity building for women
Establishment of a working women database.
Documenting, archiving and presenting experiences and case studies related to challenges and issues faced by women.
Pressure placed on unions to allow women participation
Participation of Women in collective bargaining.
Organizing seminars and training courses.
Building an extensive database including all data for working women.
The meeting was also led by each of the FES Regional Project Director - Merin Abbas.
The meeting was also attended by women participants from BWI affiliates in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia, Morocco and Kuwait. The BWI extends its gratitude the FES in Tunisia for their support.