Building more women education union leadership in the Pacific!

published 10 September 2018 updated 13 September 2018

Women education trade unionists have reflected on and developed strategies to increase the influence and participation of women in trade unions, education systems and societies in the Pacific region.

The capacity-building workshop of the regional women’s network organised by Education International (EI) and the Council of Pacific Education (COPE), held from 8-10 August in Nadi, Fiji, offered an opportunity for 21 participants from EI affiliates in the Pacific to build their capacity as women leaders, to be bold in confronting regional challenges, and continue to achieve progress towards realising gender equality and making a difference by accomplishing “Planet 50-50 by 2030”.

These women leaders at national and regional level enhanced their skills to implement and monitor gender equality, and carried out organising capacity-building activities to help them strengthen independent and democratic teacher unions.

The workshop  aimed to increase the awareness of gender equality, augment political awareness, and make more effective women’s networks. It also sought to improve the ability of  women to participate in in decision making and  leadership in their respective unions. The workshop gave the women the possibility to share real life stories, successes and ways to deal with challenges in their own schools, unions and communities.

The training also provided women leaders with a platform to assess their women’s network and help Presentations from representatives of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Right (UNOHCHR), EI and COPE contributed to improving the participants’ understanding of:

·         the 17 UN sustainable development goals (SDGs), especially SDGs 4, 5 and 8;

·         the UN status of women;

·         the ILO decent work agenda;

·         the UN Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women; as well as

·         lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people’s rights and issues.

“All participants were satisfied and agreed that it was a successful meeting, especially with the writing of 2018/19 action plans for all Pacific countries, the golden opportunity to create women networks and re-activate dormant ones, and the strengthening of internal and external communication processes,” underlined COPE Secretary General and EI Regional Coordinator Govind Singh.

Participants gave several recommendations, among which are a continued support from EI and COPE to assist in the creation of women’s network and to increase and promote training sessions for more women leaders in the Pacific region. This was also underlined by EI Regional Coordinator in charge of women’s issues, Pathma Krishnan.