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Asia-Pacific women renew demand for 40% representation

27 June, 2016The call for 40 per cent representation rang loud and clear at IndustriALL’s Asia-Pacific women’s committee meeting in Thailand on 20 June 2016. Participants endorsed their resolution proposing that IndustriALL Global Union’s Statutes be changed to include a 40 per cent quota for women’s representation in IndustriALL's structures.

Any changes to the Statutes will need to be approved with a two-thirds majority at IndustriALL’s Congress in Rio de Janeiro in October.

The Bangkok meeting, chaired by Akiko Gono (Japan) and co-chaired by Wati Anwar (Indonesia), discussed different options for changes to the Statutes, such as a binding quota or a target of 40 per cent representation instead.

IndustriALL’s assistant general secretary and director for women, Monika Kemperle, told the meeting that concrete and realistic strategies should be undertaken to achieve 40 per cent representation. She also recommended that Asia-Pacific women consider fairness and the visibility of women in IndustriALL’s political structures as well as in the Statutes.

Kemperle informed the committee that there are regions ready to adopt the binding quota, while others prefer a 40 per cent target.

Akiko Gono reiterated that Asia-Pacific was the first region to adopt the resolution of 40 per cent women representation at its Conference in 2014.

The meeting also included reports of activities and on-going campaigns in South East Asia and South Asia as well as country reports from Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines. The reports showed that women need to be better informed about gender equality, social benefits and protection of women’s rights such as improved maternity protection, eliminating work-based violence and occupational safety and health. More women need to be represented not only in the committee but also in decision-making structures of the unions. 

Stressing the need for more women’s participation in the upcoming Congress in Brazil in October, Kemperle and Gono called on the members of the Asia-Pacific women’s committee that participation should not only mean presence at the Congress, but also promoting women’s issues and a way of increasing women leaders across industries. This can only be achieved if capacity and confidence building continues at the grassroots.

Finally, Kemperle called on the Asia-Pacific women’s committee to stand firm in demanding 40 per cent women’s representation in IndustriALL’s Statutes.