Building women workers’ power!

The three Belgian trade unions are working together to advance workers’ and women’s rights, both in Belgium and beyond through their development cooperation work. Most recently, they came together to provide strategic support to the ITUC’s 3rd World Women’s Conference.

Article by International departments of CSC-ACV, FGTB-ABVV and CGSLB-ACLVB

The ITUC’s 3rd World Women’s Conference was held in Costa Rica on 11-13 October 2017. It brought together more than 200 women trade union activists from around the world. In preparation for this major event, the three Belgian Trade Unions (CSC-ACV, FGTB-ABVV and CGSLB-ACLVB), in collaboration with Trade Union Confederation of Americas (TUCA), held a special side event under the theme of “Decent work, gender equality and fight against precarious work” on the 10th of October.

This side event aimed to provide input to the discussions that followed during the three-day ITUC’s 3rd World Women’s Conference. The themes of our workshops were set according to those of the conference. As well as supporting the ITUC’s theme of building women workers’ power, the ILO conventions and recommendations were also used to frame and guide the discussions.

The day started with an open plenary session with supporting words from the General Secretary of TUCA, Mr. Victor Báez and from the Secretary of Trade Union Policy and Education at TUCA, Amanda Villator. Representatives of the three Belgian Trade Unions, Marie-Hélèna Ska (CSC-ACV), Sabine Slegers (CGSLB-ACLVB) and Miranda Ulens (FGTB-ABVV) then gave a word of welcome and introduced the theme of each of the three workshops that took place. The workshops looked at:

  • Gender Based Violence and Harassment in the world of work
  • The role of women in the Transition of Informal to Formal Economy
  • Access for all, including women, to the Universal Right to Social Protection

In each workshop, three cases were presented, two from the experience of our partner organisations and one from Belgium. By sharing good practice amongst ourselves, we reached a number of recommendations to help us promote a strong and sustainable gender mainstreaming in our work. The declaration and recommendations of the day can be read here.

The three Belgian trade unions, along with their partner organisations, will be working together to advance workers’ and women’s rights at home and in the workplace, both in Belgium and beyond, through their development cooperation work. This work is undertaken in the context of the Belgian Decent Work Joint Strategic Frame, through their five-year development cooperation programmes, which receive the support of the Belgian Ministry of Development Cooperation.

All participants have pledged to support this declaration and carry its message through to the 4th World ITUC Congress in 2018.

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