ITUC PERC Women’s School in Vilnius, 25-26 September

The ITUC/PERC with the support from Friedrich Ebert Stiftung organized the PERC Women’s School on 25-26 September in Vilnius. Around 35 participants from the PERC region took part in the activity.

The main items on the agenda were: the evaluation of the work done by the women’s network in the region; discussion of the new challenges ; evaluation of PERC Women’s Committee campaign for ending violence and harassment against women and men at the workplace, lobbying for ratification of the ILO Convention 190; tackling the gender pay gap and pension gap; preparation of action plans both on national and regional levels on closing the gender pay gap.

The following experts shared their work and experience together with the participants: Peer Krumrey, Director of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Office for the Baltic States, Nataliya Levitska, Vice-President PERC , Anton Leppik, Executive Secretary of the PERC, Jolanta Reingarde, EIGE Senior Researcher, Evelyn Astor, Policy Advisor, ITUC, Silvana Cappuccio, Senior Adviser CGIL Italy, Annika Wunsche members of the PERC Women’s Committee, Irina Gorshkova KTR Russian Federation, Marina Kurtanidze, President GTUC Construction and Forest Workers’ Trade Union. The meeting of the School was opened by welcoming speeches of the two women presidents of the Lithuanian unions : Inga Ruginiene, President LPSK and Kristina Krupaviciene, President Solidarumas, who presented the challenges Lithuania is facing as concerns gender pay gap and pension gap, state of affairs of the existing legislation and trade union action as concerns social protection.

During the round table organized with all participants and during working groups the following issues were discussed: what action to undertake on national and regional level as concerns fighting the gender pay gap and pension gap, how to lobby the governments for ratification of the ILO Convention 190 on fighting violence and harassment at the workplace; what action to undertake to combat segregation in occupational sectors, how to better value women’s skills; what action plans to develop to fight inequalities and stereotypes; how to get more women in collective bargaining teams and fight for gender neutral job classification. Across the globe , women earn on average substantially less than men and the gender pay gap stands on average at 23 per cent. Women’s low pay combined with their greater concentration in part-time, informal and precarious work leads to women’s higher risk of poverty. It also contributes to their lower social security contributions, leaving them especially vulnerable in old age. In the EU alone, women’s pensions tend to be 37 per cent less than men. The PERC Women’s School participants discussed what can be done to close the gender pay gap: lobby for pay transparency legislation, wage gap calculations, collective bargaining and role of social dialogue, gender neutral job evaluation, strong national equality bodies, gender sensitive design of public policies.

After the Women’s School the PERC women’s committee evaluated the activity and included some proposal in its action plan for the next year: working on a pay rise campaign for the PERC region taking into consideration the gender pay gap and pension gap; continue developing the Count us in Campaign, which had a big success in the region with very concrete results as concerns promoting women in leadership positions and increasing participation of women in unions and collective bargaining; continue to support and develop the PERC young women network and organize activities taken into consideration the specify of this particular group.

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The role of TU in promoting social protection floor
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