Today, women workers in the BWI sectors throughout the world face enormous challenges. Women workers are often in precarious forms of work and are often paid less than their male counterparts with very little social benefits. Women workers face continuous sexual harassment and employment discrimination. Women workers have limited access to skills training and job advancement. In times of economic crisis, women workers are the first to be terminated.
Even within trade unions, women workers face difficulties. They are often under-represented in total membership of trade unions---about 20% of the BWI global trade union membership. They are also under-represented in decision making bodies of trade unions and few are in leadership positions. In addition women workers face double forms of work---inside and outside the home---which limits their ability to play a more active role in trade unions.
At the Founding Congress in 2005 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the BWI committed itself to establish strong, independent, autonomous, gender-fair and democratic trade unions in all countries and adopted a gender mainstreaming goal and established women structures at the regional and global level. The BWI envisioned a world without poverty; where peace, social justice, gender equality and respect for trade union and human rights prevail. The BWI believes that gender equality can be achieved by ensuring that women are fully integrated into trade unions and that barriers for equal participation of women are addressed effectively.
The BWI stands firm that the following gender issues are priority issues in all the regions:
Promotion and defense of women’s rights
Increase the number of women in BWI sectors who are organized in trade unions
Enhancement of women’s participation in policy-making and decision making processes
Promotion of equality in employment opportunities
Equal pay for work of equal value
Reconciliation of work and family life
Elimination of gender stereotypes in the labor market
Advocacy against gender discrimination and gender-based violence