Education International
Education International

Trade unionists ready to influence UN session on Equality for Women and Men

published 27 February 2009 updated 27 February 2009

Over 40 trade unions delegates and union equality officers will gather to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) on Monday, March 2 in New York to advocate and make progress on gender equality and non-discrimination policies within the framework of the decent work, decent lives for women campaign.

Together with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Public Service International (PSI), EI will send a 40 women strong trade union delegation to the 53rd session of the CSW. The theme of this year is The equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS. The UN aims to promote implementation of the principle that men and women have equal rights. The CSW session will deliver concrete recommendations on this specific and other related themes.

The achievement of decent work/decent lives for all has to overcome some obstacles such as the differences and inequalities of situation between men and women, and discrimination against women in the world of work. In many countries, the unequal distribution of domestic and care responsibilities between women and men continues to be a major obstacle to women’s participation and advancement in the labour market since men tend not to share either in housework or in child care-associated activities. This is further exacerbated in many countries by the care-giving responsibilities of the HIV/AIDS phenomenon, especially for girls and women.

The UNCSW agreed conclusions are negotiated and agreed by all Member States. They include a comprehensive set of recommendations for Governments, intergovernmental bodies, civil society, NGOs, and other relevant stakeholders, to be implemented at the international, national, regional and local levels. The agreed conclusions are a tool that can be used to hold governments and international institutions to account for the actions they take or do not take in achieving women’s equality.

The strong union presence is an opportunity for the delegation to work in close collaboration with like-minded organizations to lobby governments and the United Nations. Daily labour Caucus meetings are organized to finetune strategy.

The Global Unions delegation is organizing different activities at the CSW including a trade union orientation meeting on Sunday, March 1. The union session will be addressed by Jane Hodges, Director of the ILO Gender Bureau, who will talk about the gender perspectives of the financial crisis. Linkages will be made with the upcoming International Labour Conference 2009 discussion on equality between men and women at the heart of decent work.

Please see below for the EI, ITUC and PSI joint statement.