15 March, 2022The 66th session of the United Nation Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW66) starts in New York this week. IndustriALL, together with other global unions, is using the opportunity to put gender equality at the centre of discussions on Just Transition to build a green and caring world.
The UNCSW66 takes place from 14 - 25 March. During the Commission’s annual two-week session, representatives of UN member states, civil society organizations, include trade unions, and UN entities will meet, both in person at UN headquarters in New York, and virtually.
The debates will focus on achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes. Parties will make recommendations that will take the form of negotiated agreed conclusions on the priority theme on gender equality and women’s empowerment in climate change.
IndustriALL made clear when setting trade union priorities that Just Transition plans must be coupled with the implementation, involving trade unions, of sustainable industrial policies aimed at creating decent work, especially for workers who will be impacted by industrial transformations. These policies must guarantee equal opportunities for both men and women, by addressing existing gender inequalities.
“Policies on energy transition must seek to achieve, with the involvement of trade unions, decent working conditions for men and women workers in the renewable energy sector and its supply chain. These policies must also address structural and behavioural gender inequalities to allow women, especially young women, to participate in jobs and sectors from which they have been traditionally excluded, including in sciences, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). They must meet women’s needs, addressing gender energy poverty though universal access to energy, ”
said Diana Junquera Curiel, IndustriALL director for energy and Just Transition.
IndustriALL joined other global unions in a joint statement calling on member states to act immediately by adopting ambitious Just Transition plans that preserve our planet and adequately address the profound inequalities and inequities in the world of work. These plans are fundamental for building resilient, sustainable and just societies, equipped to respond to the climate emergency, and to meet the targets set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Adequate and increased investment in a Just Transition towards a gender-responsive and inclusive green and caring economy is critical. This requires guarantees to provide decent work for all, including the formalization of informal work and universal access to social protection. Universal access to public quality care, health and education services, including transport services, overcoming sectoral and occupational segregation, realizing equal pay for work of equal value, eradicating wage and skills gaps and providing occupational health and safety are also central tenets of a Just Transition.
The UNCSW66 is a key opportunity to influence states to develop gender-transformative and inclusive Just Transition plans. The agreed conclusions will be an important tool for IndustriALL, and its affiliates, to advocate and negotiate with governments and corporations to ensure that their response to climate change addresses the specific impact, and the related transformation in the world of work, on women. IndustriALL will build on the outcomes of the UNCSW66 to develop further strategies.
Currently, gender equality is absent from many government Just Transition plans. It is also missing from the agenda of many trade unions. The UNCSW66 is an occasion to raise the visibility of gender equality in our ranks, and to articulate the importance of integrating gender in our action around Just Transition.
A series of important virtual side events, open to all, have been organized during the UNCSW66 on a range of issues related to the impact of climate change on women and to a gender-transformative and inclusive Just Transition, including equal pay, women in STEM, and feminist solutions to climate change.
- Register for the global union side event Climate Action and a Caring Gender-transformative Just Transition Now! on 16 March (13.00 – 14.30 CET).
Main photo: CUPE/Hatnim Lee