On 22 May, fifteen women trade union leaders, officials and activists from BWI’s European affiliates, including BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson, met online to discuss the challenges women face in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis.
The participants all agreed that working women are one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. They said that working women are at greater risk of acquiring COVID-19 as many of them are frontliners, acting as doctors, nurses, midwives and health support staff.
They also said that women have become more vulnerable to violence against women, particularly domestic violence, which is on the rise in many European countries. As a result of the lockdowns, many working women were trapped in homes with domestic abusers, unable to access protective mechanisms and social support provided by trade unions, civil society groups and workplaces.
As such, the BWI women agreed to intensify the “value women’s work” campaign with specific focus on gender pay gap, women’s unpaid work and access to social protection systems.
They also felt that there is a greater sense of urgency in pushing for the ratification of International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention No. 190. They said that it is necessary to link efforts to end domestic violence and the campaign to stop gender-based harassment and violence in the world of work.