On 12-13 November 2019, the BWI European Regional Women’s Committee (ERWC) met in Chisinau, Moldova to evaluate the progress of the ERWC action plan and develop future campaign plans.
The ERWC Committee members and observers highlighted the global labour movement’s success in the adoption of ILO Violence and Harassment Convention #190 and accompanying Recommendation #206 at the recent International Labour Conference. It was acknowledged that with the adoption of the new international instrument, the BWI will campaign in collaboration with other Global Unions for the ratification of the new Convention, educate workers and use the new instrument as the organizing tool.
“Stop the Macho Culture” campaign, which is another tool to fight against gender-based violence and build safe and gender-friendly workplace environment was also discussed at the meeting. The campaign is already in full swing in Sweden and the ERWC agreed to expand the campaign regionally. Ensuring gender friendly workplaces is one of the key elements to encourage women to become tradeswomen.
One of the highlights of the meeting was a presentation by Moldavan trade union women leaders who shared the challenges women face in Moldova. They stated the key issues for women in Moldova are low wages, gender pay gap, and poor working conditions which all contribute to the push factors of women migrating to other European countries for work. The trade unions in Moldova emphasized that gender issues are on the top of the trade union agenda and they are actively organizing women to fight these challenges.
“Gender pay gap is a key component of BWI’s global campaign for gender equality. This issue along with the issue of the violence and harassment at the workplace always mobilize women to speak out and stand together for their rights. In our discussions during the committee meeting we came up with the initiative to organize an European strike around these issues.” said Rita Schiavi, Chair of the BWI ERWC.