Empowering young women in the service sector

Decisions for Life project offers opportunities for young women workers in the service sector to empower themselves. To do so it deploys an innovative dual approach: grass root trade union campaigns, aiming to reach at least 10.000 women, combined with media web technologies (special women’s websites), aiming to reach 1.000.000 women online.

What is the aim of the project?
The project aims at raising awareness amongst young women workers on three issues: 1) Career: the decisions regarding their future employment opportunities and career possibilities, 2) Family planning & partner choice, and 3) Work-family balance.

The target group:
The project targets women who participate or are seeking work in 8 large occupational groups in the service sector, notably call centre operators, secretaries, bookkeepers, IT programmers, sales persons and cashiers in retail, front office workers/ receptionists in hotels, travel agency intermediaries in tourism, and housekeepers in hotels.

The participating countries:
The project focuses on 14 developing countries: Brazil, India, Indonesia, the CIS countries Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and the southern African countries Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The Campaign:
The Decisions for Life campaign is part of the ITUC Global Campaign ’Decent Work, Decent Life for Women’ for gender equality at work and in trade unions in all aspects. National Centers and trade unions of ITUC, UNI and other Global Unions Federations (GUF) such as IUF, PSI, IFJ organise campaigns, including face to face meetings with young women workers, training sessions on e.g. negotiation skills, workplace and door-to-door visits, with the aim to achieve better working conditions and increase the number of young women in trade unions as members and as leaders.

The project is financed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MDG3 Fund.
ITUC provides the overall project management and cooperates with its affiliates in the 14 countries. ITUC also cooperates with global union UNI, the umbrella organization of unions in the services industries worldwide, and with other Global Union Federations: IUF, PSI and IFJ.

In addition, ITUC works hand in hand with the WageIndicator Foundation, which has longstanding experience in the development and operation of attractive websites on work and wages, currently operational in 46 countries.
The scientific partner of ITUC is the University of Amsterdam (UvA)/AIAS, which specializes in worldwide inventories underlying the decent work agenda, wages, and companies’ industrial relations systems.

For more information, please visit the special Decisions for Life webpage and the project’s photo gallery.

Country Reports*
- Ukraine, March 2010
- Kazakhstan, March 2010
- Azerbaijan, March 2010
- Indonesia, February 2010
- India, January 2010
- Brazil, December 2009
- Kazakhstan (short version), December 2009
- Azerbaijan (short version), December 2009
- Malawi, November 2009
- Botswana, November 2009
- Zambia, September 2009
- South Africa, August 2009
- Angola (en | pt), July 2009
- Mozambique (en | pt), July 2009

*UvA/AIAS coducts special country reports which can be used to support trade union campaigns. As all partners work jointly but also independently, the information in these reports does not necessarily reflects official ITUC positions and ITUC does not bear responsibility for the content.

Brussels, 6 April 2010: Decisions for Life mourns the passing of Tabisa Sigaba

Dear Friends,

We are shocked to hear that last weekend Tabisa Sigaba, a wonderful young woman with great aspirations to make a difference for young women, died in a tragic car accident. Being the strong and forceful voice of young women workers at the recent ITUC Decisions for Life regional meeting in Maputo (22 – 26 March 2010), we owe it to Tabisa to let the world know about her vision: a world where young women around the world connect, speak with their own voices and making their own decisions at work, at home and in society. A world where the cycle of violence against women will be broken and the challenges of HIV/AIDs shall be overcome.

Tabisa was one of the young women leaders of the Decisions for Life Campaign in South Africa, which she described as ‘the first platform ever in South Africa where young women connect, are in charge of their own life and take action to access decent work’. Tabisa was a full time shop steward in SACCAWU (affiliate of COSATU, South Africa), a spokesperson for young women workers and a gender activist.

Tabisa’s proposal to organize a global young women’s conference for young women between 15 and 29 years was adopted at the Maputo ‘Decisions for Life’ meeting. To honor her efforts for an independent and decent life for young women, this conference will carry her name: ‘The Tabisa Young Women’s Conference’ to take place on May 2011.

Our thoughts are with Tabisa’s daughter, family and friends and we wish them strength, light and love to carry this tragedy.

Tabisa will always surround us.

On behalf of the ‘Decisions for Life’ team,

Marieke Koning
Equality Officer at the ITUC Equality Department/ Project Coordinator of the ‘Decisions for Life’ project

You can leave your comment on the ‘Tabisa - Decisions for Life’ webpage