PERC Women School - Women at the frontline during the pandemic; challenges and way forward

Virtual meeting of the PERC Women School took place on 4 November with participation of more than seventy women trade unionists from different trade union organizations of the PERC region. The Women’s School this year was organized with the financial support from the Belgian Federal Public Service for Employment, Labor and Social Dialogue and in collaboration with the Belgium CGSLB/ACLVB.

The meeting had two main parts: a round table debate on gender aspects of the crisis; consequences on women rights, women at the frontline; labor market challenges; health care; social protection ; lessons learned and way forward and a round table discussion about the ratification process of ILO Convention 190 on violence and harassment at the workplace; situation in different countries ; domestic violence as an OHS issue; presentation of trade union campaigns developed in the region on fighting violence and harassment and lobbying ratification of the ILO Convention 190.

The meeting was moderated by Merita Yildiz from HAK-IS Turkey and Natalia Levytska, vice-president of the PERC and Vice-President of KVPU Ukraine. . The meeting was opened by Sabine Slegers, President of the PERC Women Committee, who explained the purpose of the Women School , presented the activities of the PERC Women Committee and the program of the meeting; she mentioned the Declaration prepared by the PERC Women committee on COVID-19 crisis and the challenges faced by women during the pandemic.

The meeting had as quests: Ester Lynch, the ETUC Deputy Secretary General, who referred to the pay gap situation in Europe and EU Directive on Pay Transparency; Anton Leppik, Executive Secretary of PERC who presented the challenges in the PERC region. Emanuela Pozzan, the ILO Senior Specialist on gender equality presented the ILO approach as concerns gender perspective of on-going health and socio-economic crisis; Marina Monaco , ETUC expert presented the ETUC activities and priorities ; Maresa le Roux from Belgium CGSLB presented the role of social dialogue and importance of health measures during the pandemic based on Belgium example. Sharan Burrow, the Secretary General of the ITUC referred to the challenged faced by the global trade union movement as concerns the COVID-19 crisis; the role women are playing in the care economy and health services; the need to invest in care; the importance of global social protection floors, new social contract and way forwards through just transition and green economy, based on digitalization, equality, social dialogue and collective bargaining. Evelin Astor, ITUC expert stressed the importance of social protection systems during the pandemic and gave examples from different countries in the PERC region.

The afternoon session was dedicated to the ILO Convention 190; Chidi King, the Director of the ITUC Equality Department presented the ratification process, introduced the ITUC activities on fighting violence and harassment at the workplace , presented the ITUC Mini-guide and campaign toolkit. The session was followed by national presentations on campaigns for ratification of ILO Convention 190.
The results of debates during the PERC Women School will constitute the basis for the strategy and program of the PERC Women Committee for the next year.

ITUC campaign C190
CGSLB presentation
Social protection in the context of COVID: implications for women?
Welcome speech by Sabine Slegers