Raising Voices for Working Women

More than 100 women representing trade unions from around the world will be demanding improved rights for working women at the 54th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, which begins today in New York. The delegation includes members from the International Trade Union Confederation, Public Services International, Education International, and UNI Global Union.

United Nations member states will be evaluating what progress has been made towards achieving gender equality—and identifying remaining challenges—15 years after the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

“The Beijing+15 commemoration at this session of the commission is hardly a cause for celebration,” said Diana Holland, chair of the ITUC Women’s Committee. “Workers today are faced with the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, with women particularly hard hit by unemployment, precarious work and increased burdens of unpaid family care.”

Trade unions will be presenting seven main recommendations. These include calling on governments to: adopt a strong political declaration reaffirming the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action as the basic framework underpinning gender equality policies, and to apply the International Labour Organization’s Global Jobs Pact and the ILO Resolution on Gender Equality at the Heart of Decent Work to all economic recovery strategies.

The unions will hold a workshop on “Women in the Global Economy in a Time of Crisis” on 4 March. A second event will feature the release of trade union “Alternative Reports to Government National Reports”. These alternative reports from Canada, Turkey, Ghana, and Trinidad and Tobago will provide a reality check by highlighting the real situation of working women and their families on the ground.

For the joint trade union statement and more information, discussion and regular updates from the trade union delegation, visit the UNCSW blog