Pan European unions build joint strategy vs. violence against women

BWI affiliates from South East Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia met online on 24 September to build a joint strategy to fight gender-based violence and escalate the campaign for the ratification of ILO Convention 190. The meeting was participated by women trade unionists from North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Russia, Moldova and Tajikistan. 

BWI International Women’s Committee Chair Rita Schiavi opened the meeting by saying that it was the first time for women trade union leaders based in two different sub regions to come together to share experiences, plan collective actions and build a joint strategy against gender-based violence. 

“With such an initiative, it is evident that despite all challenges the pandemic has brought to us, women are committed to continue the fight for gender equality,” Schiavi said. 

Part of the strategy is to mount an early “digital campaign” to build awareness and support for the “16-days of Activism against Violence against Women” in December. The women leaders all agreed that the goal of the campaign is to promote the ratification of the ILO Convention No. 190 and oppose gender-based violence and harassment against women in workplaces. 

The women trade unionists arrived at this decision after BWI European Regional Women’s Committee members Ivana Dimitrova (SGIP, North Macedonia) and Lesia Husak (PROFBUD, Ukraine) took turns in discussing the different trade union actions and campaigns held by affiliates through the years.  The participants suggested to plan early for future actions and campaigns due to the physical limitations imposed by the pandemic. 

They also said that it is important for the campaign to empower more women workers. The women trade unionists said that more women need speak out about the issue to mainstream gender equality and empowerment among unions and the world of work.