Women trade unionists close ranks for bigger fights for gender equality
The BWI Africa and Middle East strengthened its Regional Women’s Committee (RWC) by electing a new set of leaders and adopting key policy recommendations and action plans leading to the global union’s conference in the region and 5th Congress in 2022 in Madrid.
In an online conference attended by 71 delegates, guests, observers and BWI regional staff representing 54 affiliates from 20 countries, Fozert Mugabe, Deputy General Secretary of ZCATWU, was elected as the new chairperson of the RWC. She succeeded outgoing RWC Chairperson Elizabeth Amuto of the Uganda Building Union.
Speaking before the RWC, BWI Regional Vice President and UBCCECAWU General Secretary Oloka Mesilamu reminded women trade unionists of the challenges faced by women workers amidst a global health crisis. She said that gender gaps are widening, threatening to reverse the gains and victories women have won over the past decades.
This was confirmed by Caroline Khamati Mugalla of the East African Trade Unions’ Confederation (EATUC). She called on fellow women trade unionists in the region to build new and higher unities to capably address the worsening gender inequality at workplaces and homes.
BWI Regional Representative Crecentia Mofokeng and BWI Pan Europe Policy and Campaign officer Anna Andreeva asked the delegates to draw inspiration from BWI’s previous Congress wherein women trade unionists from Africa and the Middle East successfully campaigned for 30 percent women representation at all levels of trade union leadership and activities. They said that women workers must build on that victory. They said that there is no real and complete COVID-19 recovery without gender equality.