Resolution on: Women’s and Girls’ Rights

published 19 September 2019 updated 19 September 2019

The 8th World Congress of Education International (EI), meeting in Bangkok from 21 to 26 July 2019, notes:

(1) That the year 2020 will be the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the beginning of the last decade of the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals;

(2) The importance of International Labour Organisation standards that seek to protect women’s rights at work and other protections for women and girls;

(3) The Conventions on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and on the Rights of the Child;

(4) That trade unions and civil society organisations were instrumental in securing these fundamental global instruments for realising the full and equal human rights and freedoms of women and girls.

Congress further notes:

(5) Despite these protections 131 million girls worldwide are still out of school and there is a 6 per cent increase in the number of girls not in primary education;

(6) The economic empowerment of women and protections for girls within the vision for the 2030 SDGs cannot be realised until governments address the gendered impact of global poverty;

(7) Government economic policy measures including fiscal austerity, privatisation of public services, deregulation of labour markets, changes in taxation, all have human rights consequences;

(8) Many countries have implemented deliberate and ideological political reforms that have resulted in women and children bearing the brunt of austerity, privatisation and other economic policies;

(9) That even in countries such as the United Kingdom, which is the world’s fifth largest economy and a leading centre of global finance, 4 million children live in poverty and rely on resources such as food banks and other social benefits;

(10) Rising inequality, gender-based violence, discrimination and structural power imbalances are all factors that inhibit and progress on gender equality and have a lasting and adverse impact on young girls;

(11) The regressive policies of some governments prevent women from having autonomy over their own bodies; genital mutilation has not yet been eradicated and has irreversible effects on the health of girls and women;

(12) The abuse, violence and enslavement of women and girls as weapons of war is an abomination and disgraceful act that must be eliminated.

Congress believes:

(13) Despite worldwide gains in women and girls’ rights, progress is unequal, slow and there is a danger of regression in some areas as we witness an assault on the rights of workers, social justice and human rights;

(14) Women bear the brunt of these assaults, through attacks on freedoms and increasing discrimination and violence in our schools, workplaces, homes and on the streets;

(15) Women and girls’ rights must be a campaigning priority for trade union organisations together with civil society in order to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

(16) Congress resolves that the EI Executive Board will take action to:

(i) Continue to advocate for women and girls in all its programmes, campaigns and practices;

(ii) Commit to actively working with civil society and other groups on advancing gender equality for women and girls;

(iii) Continue to demand for pay equity between women and men (equal pay for work of the same value);

(iv) Continue to campaign for universal and equal access to quality education for women and girls;

(v) Recognise the work of member organisations in campaigning to secure equal rights for women and to end violence against women and girls;

(vi) Make efforts to increase the number of women holding leadership roles in EI whilst encouraging affiliates to also increase the number of women leaders in their unions. Such efforts may include designating seats for women and programmes to encourage women to run for leadership roles;

(vii) Work with member organisations for ensuring that their trade union structures locally, nationally and internationally are also safe and inclusive spaces for women, whilst also advocating for women’s rights and gender equality.