9 November, 2022IndustriALL and affiliates gathered online for a women’s committee meeting on 26 and 27 October. A key focus of the meeting was the approval of the composition of IndustriALL’s gender equality task force. Confirmation of twelve gender task force members completes an establishment of a new IndustriALL body. Its first task will be to develop a policy aiming at ending with GBVH, sexism and misogyny in industries and trade unions.
Addressing the delegates, IndustriALL general secretary Alte Høie said:
"Discussions within the women’s committee prioritizes due diligence and a Just transition as it is critical to ensure that IndustriALL develops gender receptive actions and policies. Women are always most affected by calamities. We strongly condemn the war in Ukraine and hope to find solutions to help rebuild.”
IndustriALL assistant general secretary, Christine Olivier, said:
“The Ukraine war is continuing and accelerates our struggles. Inflation is increasing and there is little protection for women. We must applaud ourselves for our completed work and the progress that we continue to make so that women have safe spaces to speak.”
Gender expert Jane Pillinger presented IndustriALL’s future pay equity toolkit. This resource focuses on why pay equity is an important trade union and workplace issue, bringing the issue into collective bargaining, and protection for workers in the informal sector.
Business and human rights expert, Liz Umlas, addressed delegates about gender-transformative human rights due diligence (HRDD). She emphasized the need for due diligence. However, existing instruments are partially failing to develop a gender responsive approach. Trade unions have an important role to play to promote gender equality in supply chains. Investors have shown an increased interest in gender equality.
A panel discussion focused on three sectors and their work on gender mainstreaming. Speakers from FO Metal France, USW Canada and IndustriALL regional office in South Asia stressed how women should be enticed to entering technical or engineering STEM jobs in ICT Electronics, the beneficial outcomes of the GFA with H&M in advancing the fight against GBVH and the development of codes of conduct on sexual harassment for the suppliers of the brand, and how trade unions, including the mining sector, should integrate gender equality into Just Transition debates.
IndustriALL’s sector directors, from mining, garment and textiles and ICT Electronics, discussed women’s challenges including discrimination and gender pay gap, GBVH, job segregation and under-representation in union structures and leadership. Directors also voiced the strategies that were being established to protect and grow women, including industry bargaining to set living wages for garment female workers, negotiation of similar agreements like the Bangladesh accords Accord securing the safety of thousands of women in this sector, establishment of women sectoral structures and development of tools for affiliates to develop gender responses to OHS.
An IndustriALL 2023 action plan to advance gender equality was presented. Campaigns for the ratification and implementation of ILO Convention 190 will continue. Everyone will closely monitor the outcomes of these campaigns. Further discussion and work around mainstreaming gender in IndustriALL action on HRDD and Just transition will be organized. Affiliates expressed a need for a mentoring programme for young women to grow women in all sectors. The Secretariat is working on putting together a project that will address this need.