ITUC OnLine – February 23, 2011

United Nations Commission on the Status of Women

Trade unions are calling for sustainable, gender-inclusive investments in quality public services and education systems, leading to decent work for women.

New York, 23 February 2011 (ITUC OnLine): An eighty-strong delegation of trade union women from ITUC, EI, PSI, BWI and ITF are participating in the 55th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW55) in New York, from 22 February to 4 March, 2011.

This year’s priority theme is of special importance to trade unions, as it deals with women and girls’ access to education and training, particularly in science & technology (S&T), and linkages with employment and decent work.

“Despite progress, structured discriminations continue to affect the opportunities of the girl child along the pathway from education and training to decent work,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC general secretary. “Governments must invest significantly in quality public services, focusing on gender inclusive education at all levels, in order to overcome these barriers. The financial crisis must not be used as an excuse to cut back on critical public sector expenditure for the empowerment of women and girls.”

“Events in Tunisia and Egypt have proved that quality education must go hand in hand with decent work opportunities,” commented Regine Laurent, speaking on behalf of PSI. “Quality public services are key to enabling women to access decent work. Governments must pay attention to this, rather than making cynical cuts to public spending.”

Trade union women will be lobbying hard for strong Agreed Conclusions of this 55th CSW, including these and other key messages. They will be calling for full recognition of trade union rights guarantees and protections for domestic workers, through Member States’ firm support for the upcoming adoption of a Domestic Workers’ Convention at the 100th International Labour Conference in June, 2011.

Jan Eastman, deputy general secretary of EI, will deliver a Statement to the CSW plenary session, in which she will emphasise the key ingredients to achieve quality, gender-inclusive education that motivates relevant, life-long learning, while improving the cadre of teachers in quantity and quality, with a focus on S&T, through pre- and in-service teacher education and training, adequate remuneration, and due consideration paid to teaching and learning conditions.

Eastman will be calling on Member States at the CSW55 to introduce and strengthen policy interventions that incorporate the ILO’s core equality Conventions and the Education for All and Millennium Development Goals. “The aim must be to ensure full opportunities for education and training for girls and women, at all stages of the education continuum, leading to productive employment and decent work for women, thus enabling them to participate fully in the economic, trade union, social and political spheres, as citizens in democratic societies.”

See the full text of the ITUC/EI/PSI Statement to CSW55 here.

For regular updates on trade union participation in CSW55, visit our Blog:

The ITUC represents 176 million workers in 301 affiliated national organisations from 151 countries and territories. Website: and  For more information, please contact the ITUC Press Department on: +32 2 224 0204 or +32 476 621 018

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