The 5th Women's Conference of the Pan-European Regional Council of the International Trade Union Confederation was held in Brussels on December 14-15. Sviatlana Ushchapouskaya – the chairperson of the BKDP Women’s Network was delegate to the conference
Sabine Slegers, president and Brigitte Izura, vice president of the Women's Committee reported on the great work done by their team since 2016. Appreciative of their performance, the delegates accepted their resignation and elected a new Women's Committee.
The new Women's Committee was elected on an alternate basis with a balance by region and no more than one representative per country, as well as mandatory attendance at the conference
The President of the Women's Committee was Roya Garayeva, a representative of the Azerbaijan Federation of Trade Unions. Nataliya Levytska, deputy chairperson of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine, and Merita Ceceni Yuldiz, representative of the Turkish trade union federation, were elected vice-presidents. The committee members included representatives of trade unions from Albania, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Georgia, Germany, Hungary and Sweden.
In the course of discussions, exchanges of experience and expert reports, the delegates defined the priority areas of work. The main ones are, of course, to continue work on ratification of ILO Convention 190 on gender-based violence and harassment at work. A number of countries have already ratified this convention or are preparing for ratification, while some European governments, such as Germany, are delaying the adoption process under various pretexts.
Another important task is to continue to push for transparency and equal pay for women and men. To support young women in their right to leadership and equal opportunities is one more priority. Women in all ITUC member countries have also raised the issue of unpaid domestic work and the need to care for children, elderly relatives and people with disabilities, which has led to the creation of a new term in trade union vocabulary, "care economy," as this work is associated with strong emotional and psychological stresses and risks.
Women will also continue to work actively against the war in Ukraine and through their trade union organizations to help Ukrainian refugees, including in their ability to enter the labour market.
The Women's Committee is in solidarity with its Belarusian colleagues from the BKDP and will support actions against the imprisonment of trade union leaders and ban of union organizations.