“Count us in! Women in leadership”

On September 30, BNS organized a seminar in Bucharest together with ITUC and Friedrich Ebert Foundation in support of the ITUC’s Count Us In! Campaign, that engages men and women to bring about change, that is more women in trade union leadership positions and concerted efforts to organise more women in unions.
27 women leaders from the Romanian trade union movement were updated about the Count Us In! campaign, which aims to see 80 percent of affiliates of the International Trade Union Confederation with 30 percent of women in their decision-making bodies by 2018.

They shared the main concerns and obstacles for the women’s participation in the union life but they also identified solutions and developed strategies to overcome these problems and thus achieve the campaign goals. All participants made clear their resolution to become more involved in the unions as so many women are already part of the workforce, of the unions and they should count into leadership too.
The BNS vice president and president of the PERC Women’s committee, Mariana Kniesner, stressed the importance of recruiting new members and increasing the participation of new female activists in the view of continuously renewing and augmenting the number of female leaders. She underlined the importance of having women activists and leaders because with more women leaders, unions gain the capacity to build workers’ power and to win better rights for all workers. Another BNS official, vice president Ilie Gheorghe talked about his confidence that more women are likely to join a union, as members, activists and leaders, when unions reflect the gender diversity in their leadership.

The president of the BNS Women’s Committee, Niculina Freibergher, asked the participants to commit themselves to support the campaign and develop a national action plan based on the campaign objectives, to identify more men and women across the union movement who are willing to join the campaign, inform them, invite them to meetings, create a network, and build commitment at all levels.

The PERC representative, Olga Nicolae, talked about the fact that more women in leadership can enhance the ability of unions to reach out to, organise and mobilise more women members and activists.

The conclusion was that by promoting women leaders, unions become more representative of the work force in their countries, and a strategy was developed to increase labour participation of women, to determine the commitment of more women in trade union leadership positions and to organise more women in unions.