Empowering Women in Trade Unions
Women are the most sidelined people in our societies today. Despite the numerous interventions and calls for equality by various bodies, both international and local, still there are rampant cases whereby women fail in many ways to be matched by their fellow men in terms of opportunities and privileges in the society. A lot has been done to strengthen the position of womanhood and empower the girl child, but not much has been achieved especially in developing countries and countries whereby the religions disfavor womenfolk.
There is always this notion than men can to better in anything and the confines even of the modern woman is seen to be at household chores. Gender parity is something that we wanted to put to an end as my team and I took a bus to the capital to attend the workshop that I had championed to address the situation of womenfolk in my country Uganda.
I was born and raised by a single mum who did all odd jobs to see me through my education and adulthood. Thanks to her efforts, I was able to be raised in good spirit got educated and a good job at a local NGO. Therefore I saw it my duty to fight for the position of ladies in the society.
Equal Opportunities for All
The project dubbed “Promotion of Equal Opportunities and Gender Equality” in workplaces and in trade unions was initiated by me. The aim of the project was to improve the participation and representation of women in trade union organizations and their involvement in the country’s integration process through affirmative actions from the unions so that they could have better positions in the society as well as workplaces.
This was a follow up workshop to see what we had achieved because there was little change, if an, since the commencement of the project a year ago. I felt deep inside me as if I had failed because I initially I didn’t put into consideration any follow up or good evaluation measures to see the project to fruition. As a matter of facts, if I was to analyze every fact, only a few women had been appointee into leadership into the various trade unions in the country, a situation which didn’t make me smile.
When we arrived at the workshop, almost everyone had arrived and many seemed to be waiting for me to chat the way forward. It was as if the burden was only on me and that nobody else cared. Prepared I was, and it would be a shame to let this project that I had fought for so hard get kicked out.
As I stood before the podium to address the thousands of delegates both from trade unions and NGOs and other humanitarian agencies, I didn’t mince my words. I went ahead to explain how I felt that little had been achieved and blamed the whole lot of us for not coming up with feasible recommendations. There was applause as I went to detail how it was the duty of each of us to address the plight of women while all the while stating the great contributions that women. I went ahead to site the case of my childhood and the struggles that my mother had to undergo to raise me. I loved to see the message sink as I addressed the congregation.
I then went to outline the way I proposed that the project before us be implemented. I proposed that various national chapters be created to execute the activities of gender equality with a national secretariat and regional ones that will be tasked with planning and the evaluation of the implementation of the activities. Both men and women should be treated equally with the help they need as well, like having them to participate in a special diet plan that helps get rid of fat, or just to help stay healthy in general.
To achieve all this, I stated that three basic goals be implemented:
1) Awareness Activities in all Unions
I proposed that there should be awareness-raising and training of equal opportunities using media and through organizing various workshops especially in rural areas to sensitize union leader on the need to promote equal opportunities. In this context, flagship material would be developed for coordinating the meeting and disseminating the agendas.
There was to be a regional report on the participation of women in union activities and their representation in union policies would be analyzed periodically. The report would be an indicator of gender perspective in all trade unions.
2) Training Women Workers
There was need to train women workers so that they could be equipped with leadership qualities so that they could perform optimally in union activities. There was need to a study circle which would also be appraised periodically to ensure that they are productive in union activities.
3) Strengthening the Various Chapters Involved
It was also paramount to strengthen the institutions that we were creating to carry out the mandate so that the decision making and coordination among the various bodies would be optimal and thus ensure that the actions of the projects are carried out successfully.
When I was done with my speech, there was a loud applause. The following and final day of the workshop was a success as my recommendations were adopted and everybody was ready to ensure that they became reality. I was happy that women could at least be represented well in trade union activities which meant that they would also be a step ahead at promoting women activities in workplaces.