Women News

Second ITUC World Congress concludes by electing its first female General Secretary

On Friday 25 June, Sharan Burrow was elected General Secretary of the ITUC. On the fifth and final day of its second World Congress in Vancouver (Canada) Sharan Burrow was elected to succeed Guy Ryder, the first General Secretary of the ITUC, the world’s largest international trade union organisation, founded in Vienna in 2006. Sharan Burrow will leave her post of President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), that she has held since 2000, to become the first woman at the helm of the ITUC.

“It’s a very proud moment for me, but I hope it will be also a very proud moment for every woman around the globe,” commented Burrow after her election.

“The ITUC is still facing many challenges in the wake of the global financial crisis. Although we have seen some exceptional results in a small number of countries including Brazil, Argentina, China and Australia, the recovery in jobs has not been universal. Global unemployment and underemployment continued to rise throughout 2009 and during the first half of this year” Burrow added.

The election of the first female General Secretary of the ITUC is historically significant for the global trade union movement and occurs at a time of high participation for women at the ITUC Congress with 50 % of delegate’s seats being held by women.

Michael Sommer, DGB, Germany, has been elected as the ITUC President.
Jaap Wienen has been elected as the Deputy General Secretary
Luc Cortebeeck, CSC Belgium, has been elected as ITUC Deputy President
Nair Goulart, Força Sindical, has been elected as ITUC Deputy President

Sharan Burrow’s acceptance speech

Sharan Burrow photo gallery

Sharan Burrow- Biography

- Born in 1954 in Warren, a small town in western NSW (Australia), she started a teaching career in 1976 and became an organiser for the NSW Teachers’ Federation. President of the Bathurst Trades and Labour Council during the 1980s, she became Vice-President of Education International (EI) from 1995 to 2000. President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) in 2000, she also became in 2006 the first President of the new ITUC founded in Vienna.

See the entire biography

For more information, please contact the ITUC Press Department on: +32 476 621 018

Photo: Jacky Delorme