Sweden: Women in Trades Meet to strategize on Gender Equality
04 June 2019 15:19
From 27 to 29 May close to 100 women from four Swedish unions---Swedish Painters Union, Swedish Electricians, SEKO, and Byggnads---along with representatives from three Norwegian unions---Bygningsarbeiderforeningen, Unionen and El og IT Forbundet, Fellesforbundet--- converged in Stockholm, Sweden to network, share, and strategize on how to ensure gender equality in their respective unions as well as the overall trade union movement in Sweden and Norway. The three-day meeting consisted of plenaries and workshops on a variety of issues. One of the highlights of the meeting was a lecture from Cecilia Af Jochnick who described how men and women organize differently outlining the positive and negative ways. Using this as a basis she addressed how women can change in terms of speech and approach to succeed in a male-dominated industry such as construction. In addition, the participants divided into small groups according to their local residence to develop work plans for local activities regardless of their union membership recognizing that the issues women face in their unions and worksite are similar whether they are a painter, carpenter, or electrician. “This was a unique opportunity for women in the various construction unions in Sweden to get together in a safe space to address the key challenges that we face in the worksite and within our unions. Many women realized that they face similar challenges and had gone through similar experiences. We were able to utilize this to develop concrete plans for not only our unions but for ourselves as well because it is only women are organized and united we can ensure an equal place in the worksite and within our unions,” stated Josefine Krantz, Titular member of the BWI European Regional Women’s Committee and one of the lead organizers of the event. In supporting the BWI global campaign for Gender Equality the participants took a group picture with the poster highlighting BWI’s global campaign for gender equality.