1st World Women’s Conference in Brussels a success – November 2009
More than 450 women from over 100 countries representing trade unions and organisations around the globe concluded the 1st World Women’s Conference in Brussels on a high note.
Important presentations and discussions around issues such as climate change, the global economic crisis and gender wage gaps received critical attention, while topics such as the emergence of support for domestic workers, organising amongst informal workers, and the quest to appoint more young women into the ranks of leadership within trade unions, were universally supported.
Speakers ranged from ministerial representatives to trade union officials, domestic workers to young unionists, while debates on and off the conference floor covered a wide range of issues that affect women in specific ways.
Diana Holland, Chair of the ITUC Women's Committee, said it the conference was especially successful because "women from around the world realised that they are not alone, they face the same problems together". The main points she considered were very important to have covered were on young women trade unionists, domestic workers and informal workers, as well as working towards a resolution concerning violence against women.
Buyelwa Sonjica, South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, who addressed the conference, said she was delighted that climate change was accorded such importance on the agenda of the 1st World Women Conference. "It is so important to highlight the role of women in relation to climate change. Climate change threatens fundamental aspects of life, from access to fresh water to food production. Women, particularly those from developing countries, are at the coalface of poverty, and are most adversely affected by the negative spin-offs of climate change," she said.
Marieke Koning, Equality Officer for ITUC, who has been integral in arranging the conference, said it had been "fantastic!"
"This has been a dynamic and very action-orientated conference," she said. "We focused on critical issues, and we have come away with a clear set of action plans for the future, covering the topics we set out to discuss in our agenda under the heading 'Decent Work - Decent Life for Women: Trade Unions Taking the Lead for Economic and Social Justice and Equality'."