Egypt: Integrating Women Issues in Trade Unions

Added on:  10-Jul-2015

Cairo, 10 July 2015: UN Women carries out a series of awareness raising workshops on women's labour rights in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, and Delta over a period of five months. Workshops gathered women and men representatives from different trade unions, education and healthcare sectors. The workshops comes within the overall strategy of the Spring Forward for Women, a regional programme that provides a mechanism to advance the economic and political empowerment of women in the Southern Mediterranean region. Main objectives of the workshops are to:

  • make women’s rights and gender justice issues more visible on trade unions agendas;
  • provide an arena for women members of trade unions to strategize, support each other, and strengthen their sense of shared identity and interests to be able to table their demands to decision makers at work and within their respective trade unions; and
  • support female members of trade unions to organize campaigns on women’s rights and gender justice in the work place.

Workshops will discuss the situation of women and the national legislations and international conventions related to gender equality and women’s empowerment in the work place and trade unions. The workshops will also examine proposals for eliminating discrimination and equal pay (gender wage gap), access to maternity leave and to a nursery in the workplace, harassment and the advancement of gender equality in trade unions, develop a women trade unionists network, and prioritize measures to improve the employment conditions of women.

Twenty delegates attended the first workshop on 28 29 June and 4 July 2015 in Cairo. The workshop combined both theory and practical discussions of women’s issues in international conventions vis-à-vis national legislations. The group shared their best practices in their respective unions and efforts done vis-à-vis the obstacles they face with respect to women’s rights. At the end of the three-day workshop, the participants came up with a detailed action plan for five major issues for women’s labour rights, namely; the right to a nursery facility, children’s financial subsidy, equal pay, proper working hours, and decent workplaces. The group identified channels of communication, stakeholders, and national and international means for advancing women’s rights in their respective unions and syndicates.  

Similar awareness raising workshops will take place in Alexandria, Suez and Delta with the objective of providing a fully-fledged report on how to integrate a gender equality perspective in trade unions’ policies, programs, and activities specifying actions that trade unions should take to overcome direct and indirect discrimination against women in assuming leadership positions in trade unions. Additionally, the report will identify the entry points that exist for mainstreaming a gender perspective that are practical and appropriate to the current context and ways of working of Egyptian trade unions. 

At the end of the five months, UN Women will organize an advocacy conference gathering stakeholders from the Ministry of Labor, Federation of Egyptian Industries, Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), civil society organizations, trade unions, media and NGOs. UN Women will present and get the feedback of the findings of the four workshops held and proposed strategy and action plan identified in the report.

About Spring Forward for Women

The Regional Programme for the Economic and Political Empowerment of Women in the Southern Mediterranean Region (“Spring Forward for Women”) provides a mechanism to advance the economic and political empowerment of women in the Southern Mediterranean region. The programme (2012-2016) supports women across the region, focusing on priority countries undergoing unrest, transition and reform, to have greater influence in shaping the future of their countries while protecting their previous gains. It connects stakeholders to ensure that women in these countries receive capacity building, advocacy, information and partnerships that address the barriers that have impeded their access and engagement in economic and public lives. The programme is financed through the European Union and the UN Women.

For all media inquiries, please contact:

Emad Abou-Elgheit

Media and Communication Expert

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