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Women World Conference plans revealed

19 May, 2015Plans for IndustriALL Global Union’s first ever Women World Conference 2015 were unveiled at the women’s committee meeting in Stockholm on Monday. 

Around 250 participants from IndustriALL affiliates in 140 countries are expected to take part in the conference in the Austrian capital, Vienna, from 14 to 16 September.

Hosted by Austrian affiliate PRO-GE, IndustriALL hopes to enable as many women unionists as possible to go to the conference, which will also be streamed live on the web for those who are unable to attend.  

Key issues on the agenda will be health and safety, violence against women, maternity protection, sustainability through union building and women’s representation.

IndustriALL general secretary, Jyrki Raina, used the committee meeting in Stockholm to stress his support for a women’s quota:

“I want to see 40 per cent women at all leadership levels of IndustriALL,” he said, adding that he will lead the drive to adopt the quota at IndustriALL’s congress in Brazil in October 2016.

Raina also reminded participants of the work IndustriALL is doing continually to empower women trade unionists across the world.

He added that IndustriALL sector co-chairs are already 50:50 men and women. 

A draft resolution on the quota was presented to the meeting for review ahead of the world conference in September. The resolution will then be taken to Congress in 2016.

Monika Kemperle, IndustriALL’s assistant general secretary, said:

“The resolution is an expression of what we want to achieve. The next steps will be how we achieve it in practice.”

The question of a 40 per cent quota has been approved by Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Africa, but has yet to endorsed by Europe and North America.

Monica Veloso from Brazilian metalworkers confederation, CNTM, said:

“Many women are invisible in decision making levels. Women are in the workplace but they are not in unions. Women must be full participants and protagonists in their unions at the national and international levels.”

Several participants expressed the need for solidarity and unity amongst women, as well as greater involvement from men to help advance women in the trade union movement.

In addition to resolving a quota to guarantee women's participation, IndustriALL needs to organize more women and young people said Kemperle, particularly women in non-manual sectors and precarious jobs.

“The face of trade unions has to change and reflect the new faces in the workforce - women and youth,” she said.

The deadline for registration for the World Women Conference 2015 is 30 June.