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IndustriALL Sub-Saharan Africa Region creates Women’s Committee

18 November, 2013On 4 November 2013, In Nigeria, the IndustriALL Sub-Saharan Africa Region constituted a women’s committee to be made up of 15 women. All four regions of Africa now have a women representative. Beauty Zibula from the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union (SACTWU) was elected chair of the committee.

One of the main concerns raised by the Committee, was how to reach the many women in the huge continent of Africa. The Committee also wanted to avoid the exclusion of any countries. But as a start the structure was conceived this way, and the women pledged to make it work.

The women’s committee will always meet in connection to the regional executive. The women and indeed the men welcomed the establishment of the structure because that would be one step toward changing the masculine make-up of IndustriALL.

In addition it was agreed to set up national structures to feed into the regional structure. The regional office will need to monitor the national activities. In addition the region was divided up among the office bearers.

Christine Oliver and Jane Ragoo will attend to Southern Africa, Angeline Chitambo and Margaret Ndagile to East and Central Africa and Beauty Zibula and Yuyi Sikanu to West Africa. They are responsible for reporting on challenges and activities in those sub-regions. They will challenge the affiliates to organize women’s activities. Unions have to contribute more to achieve the objectives.

The women saw the following roles for the women’s structure:

  • Influence the other structures
  • Get an overview of women’s concerns
  • Take the lead in structures where men are sitting now
  • Change the men-only structures for women to participate
  • Get women in overall structures
  • Discuss our issues in our own forum
  • Create national women’s structures
  • Coordinate with regional office
  • Make the most of women’s programmes and project activities
  • Make affiliates participate in women’s concerns
  • Pass on working women’s concerns
  • Support affiliates to create women’s structures
  • Create national women’s structures
  • Pass national concerns to regional structure
  • Listen to workers on the ground
  • Make a structure that has workers’ mandate
  • Drive IndustriAll agenda in the countries
  • Pass on information in both directions
  • Bring affiliates together
  • Ensure interaction between national and regional structures
  • Take responsibility for the sub-regions
  • Drive networking and solidarity
  • Support elected persons
  • Provide capacity building for women leaders
  • Set time frames
  • Coordinate with other countries that are not represented
  • Focus on few countries and get results
  • Network and communicate with the others

On 5 November the women met with some 50 women from IndustriALL’s Nigerian affiliates. There was a fruitful exchange that focused mainly on issues of women’s leadership.