BWI Africa and Middle East held its first online Regional Women’s Committee (RWC) meeting on 4 June with 34 participants, including titular members and observers from all sub-regions.
The online meeting discussed the challenges posed by COVID-19 on women and actions taken to protect women’s rights and their jobs. It also discussed BWI’s policy on harassment and discrimination.
The sub regional reports highlighted that women and girls in Africa & Middle East are amongst the most vulnerable groups to the negative impact of the pandemic and the lockdown measures. The reports observed a rise in domestic violence, sexual harassment and other cases of abuse against women and girls.
For instance, in Kenya, it was reported that domestic violence complaints have increased by 34 percent in the first three weeks of the lockdown. Similar trends have also been observed in southern and Western sub regions of Africa.
The Chairperson of the Regional Women Committee, Elizabeth Amuto invited women in Africa and Middle East to effectively use the BWI policy on harassment and discrimination to guide unions in the fight against all forms of gender-based violence. The RWC also adopted an action plan which includes innovative actions like webinars and online campaigns for women rights.
Regional Representative Crecentia Mofokeng, on behalf of BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson, Regional President Abdel Monem and other BWI leaders, congratulated the women who have participated in the deliberations which she hoped will guide BWI-Africa and MENA’s future women actions.
The online meeting observed a minute silence to remember BWi’s Jin Sook Lee and all the fallen heroes of the trade union movement.