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Workshop strategizes a gender responsive Just transition for Sub-Saharan Africa

19 October, 2023Over 40 participants from 15 African sectors representing IndustriALL Global Union affiliated unions organizing in the automotive, chemicals, energy, engineering, metals, mining, oil and gas, textile and garment and other manufacturing sectors met at a workshop in Mombasa, Kenya, on 17 October, to strategize how a gender responsive Just Transition can be implemented in their countries.

The main issues were on what sustainable Just Transition models that are beneficial to working women can be implemented by Sub-Saharan African countries, and what role should be played by trade unions.

Key discussions were on how trade unions can build awareness on the gender dimensions of the Just Transition, and the adverse impact of climate change and development on women. The workshop deliberated on skills that were needed in future industries including the renewable energy sector. Further, strategies were discussed on trade union engagement with policymakers on the Just Transition through social dialogue. However, the issues that remained crucial for women included gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and harassment, discrimination and exploitation, weak legal protection, limited access to justice, and precarious working conditions on which the workshop concurred that countries should develop strategies on.
The workshop focused on climate change and the future of work, the opportunities that exist for women, and how women were experiencing the changing workplaces. The participants discussed that a Just Transition should include issues that have been raised by working women including closing the gender pay gap, gender inequality, stopping gender discrimination, providing job security to women through permanent work, providing childcare facilities, and maternity protection. Unpaid care work continued to keep women from seeking wage employment.

“Working women should rise, come together, and let their voices be heard. It is important to prioritize addressing women’s challenges, ensuring gender equality in the Just Transition through policy interventions at national level,”

said Christian Ranji, chairperson of the SSA interim women’s committee. 

“Women in Sub-Saharan Africa are fighting patriarchy, discrimination, and exclusion, and are vulnerable to climate change. It is for these reasons that a Just Transition framework that we will support in Africa will be that which includes the International Labour Organization fundamental rights at work, the decent work agenda, and International Labour Organization Convention 190 on the eliminating of violence and harassment in the world of work,”

said Rose Omamo, IndustriALL Vice President.