World Women’s Assembly to focus on organising women

300 women trade union delegates from 100 countries are gathering in Dakar, Senegal, this week to analyse the impacts of the global jobs crisis on women, find ways to organise more women and map out international trade union action to improve women’s job security, pay and conditions as the global economy remains highly unstable.

A major focus of the programme will be on reaching out to the most vulnerable and exploited women such as domestic or home-based workers and map out different ways of organising them all around the world.

The Conference will also focus on promoting women in leadership, the Count Us In! Campaign, and mentorship programmes to support younger women.

Women have been hardest hit by the crisis as their employment and income levels steadily deteriorate. The ITUC (2013) Global Poll shows that 65 % of women think the economic situation in their country is bad.

The Conference discussion guide provides extensive and detailed coverage of priority issues for women at work. It points out to the steady rise of precarious and informal work in recent years in which women are overrepresented.

The event is expected to end with strong commitments of the unions to organising women workers around their issues, and to campaigning for unpaid care work to be recognised, valued and more equally shared.

“The Women’s Organising Assembly marks a strategic moment in the critical fight to reclaim our democracies, our communities, the dignity of work and our rights as women and as workers,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary. “We want to build workers’ power. Women are part of this fight. The World has to count us in!”

"Senegal is committed to accelerating the process of ratification of conventions C183 and C189 of the ILO on Maternity Protection and domestic workers," said Aminata Touré, Prime Minister of Senegal.

“This 2nd World Women’s Conference – Organising Assembly – is not just about opposing discrimination and injustice because it is wrong. The focus on organising working women is central to the trade union response and part of the solution for the global trade union movement,” said Diana Holland, Chair of the ITUC Women’s Committee. “Gender equality is needed to strengthen unions and building workers ‘power.”

See the Women’s Organising Assembly webpage here

See the 12 by 12 Campaign webpage here

See the Count Us In! webpage here

See the Get Organised webpage here