On 8-9th of September 2016, women trade union leaders from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Ukraine came to together to participate in the first BWI Sub Regional Women’s Conference “Value Women’s Work”.
The Conference aimed to develop the capacity of the women from BWI affiliates in Central Asia so that they can play a more active role in the political, economic, and policy discussions within their union as well as at the regional and global levels. The participants also exchanged their experiences on innovative trade union approaches and defined strategy to increase the visibility of women leaders.
In the frame of the discussion on political, economic and social trends in Central Asia and Eastern Europe the participants concluded that all countries in the region are in difficult political and economic situation which has consequences on the labour market. In 2015 real wages decreased in Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, and high inflation rates were registered in Ukraine, Russia and Moldova. Comparative wage analysis of men and women demonstrated that on average women’s wages contains from 54 per cent to 88 per cent to men’s wages with the lowest ratio in Azerbaijan. For Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova labour migration reminds to be the most challenging issue.
Participants of the conference concluded that women workers in BWI sectors face several challenges in penetrating the labour market and once they do, other obstacles such as lack of time due to family responsibilities, opposition from spouse and family or a male dominated work culture prevent them from increasing their economic and social power.
The participants also discussed best practices of trade union campaigns focusing on gender issues. As the result of the Conference women trade union leaders developed a work plan for Value Women’s Work Campaign in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. The campaign aims to bring together women amongst the BWI affiliates in to advocate for greater gender equality through ensuring fair value of women’s work inside and outside the work place and inside and outside the trade union. The plan includes development of women’s networks or committees in the respective countries and at the sub regional level, regular information exchange, and education and organizing of women in trade unions.