BWI OnLine – March 8, 2010


In commemoration of International Women’s Day 8 March 2010, BWI is launching a special section on its website called “Voices of women from BWI” that focus on campaigns for decent work with the slogan “Make decent work a reality for working women”. “We need to ensure that Gender Equality Procedures and Legislations across the globe are respected and good practices are promoted through lobbying and networking in the regions,” says Ambet Yuson, General Secretary of the BWI. Though on a positive note, the number of women workers in the BWI sectors is on the rise, prevalence of discrimination does raise a cause for concern. Yuson notes: “Women workers are mainly absorbed in low skilled and labour intensive jobs, which are casual and contractual in nature, therefore situation warrants a coordinated action to achieve equal pay for work of equal value, maternity protection, skills development, protection from sexual harassment, self-organisation, healthy and safe working environment, collective bargaining and recognition of women in leadership positions.”

Decent work is captured in 4 strategic objectives :

  • Fundamental principles and rights at work
  • Employment and income opportunities
  • Social Protection and social security
  • Social Dialogue and tripartism

    These objectives hold for all workers, women and men in both formal and informal economies; in wage employment or as self-employed workers; in the fields, factories, and offices; and in their home or in the community.

    BWI strongly believes that gender equality can be achieved by ensuring that women are fully integrated in all trade union work and that barriers to their equal participation are addressed effectively. It stands firm on the following priority issues:

  • Promote and defend women’s rights;
  • Organize more women in BWI sectors;
  • Enhance women’s participation in policy-making and decision- making processes in trade unions and greater society;
  • Promote equality in employment opportunities;
  • Advocate for equal pay for equal work;
  • Ensure balance of work and family life;
  • Eliminate gender stereotypes in the work place; and
  • Advocate against gender discrimination and gender-based violence.

    Women make up 20% of the work force in our sectors but they do not even represent 2% of our membership. We need to campaign to change this so that women have access to all the benefits of trade unionism—decent work, safe working conditions, living wage, and respect and justice in the work place.

    Let’s make decent work a reality for working women!

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