Education International
Education International

Education unions’ leading women pave the way for women’s economic empowerment

published 16 March 2017 updated 3 April 2017

Taking women’s rights to the UN, Education International’s delegation of female education unionists’ message of ‘A Woman’s Place is in her Union…for Economic Justice’ is being heard loud and clear in New York City.

The Education International (EI) delegation to the 61st Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women(CSW61) is plowing ahead with its programme, despite the cancellation of some side events due to heavy snow storms in New York City, which included the EI co-sponsored high-level side-event with the UN Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) and the Norwegian Mission.

Education International’s delegation, comprised of 19 participants from 13 trade unions, is being led by the current Chair of EI’s Status of Women Committee, Dianne Woloschuk of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF), and EI Deputy General Secretary Haldis Holst. It is part of the broader labour delegation including International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Public Services International (PSI) delegates, as well as delegates from national labour centres such as the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). The full labour delegation is made up of 160 women from 44 countries.

Economic empowerment

The EI activities at CSW61, whose priority theme is ‘Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work’, started with a roundtable conversation with Dr Savi Bisnath, a feminist economist and adviser to The Global Alliance against Traffic in Women. She explained how trade unions, and trade union women specifically, lead on and can continue to advance women’s economic empowerment.

Also, the EI/ITUC/PSI co-sponsored parallel event on ‘Mobilising Collective Action for Women’s Economic Empowerment’ took place on 13 March. The event was moderated by CLC’s Vicky Smallman and EI’s Woloschuk represented the global federation of education unions on the panel, which also featured Gabriela Figueora of the Asociación del Personal de la Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Jill Shenker of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, USA.


The full CSW61 programme is expected to continue as planned. Further updates from EI delegates will be available here.

The Global Unions’ Joint Written Statement for CSW61 is available here.

You can also listen to Dianne Woloschuk’s 8 March podcast here, and read the UN Secretary General’s report on the CSW61 priority theme here.