PERC Women’s Committee meeting, Budapest 16-18 March 2016

The meeting was organized with the support from Hungarian unions and had the purpose to discuss the Work Plan of the PERC Women’s Committee for the year 2016 and to decide on the main themes to be discussed and best strategies to empower the women trade unionists in the PERC organizations. The committee invited for this meeting the ILO Budapest representative to discuss the future collaboration with the office in the future and see what common activities can be organized.

The main purpose of the PERC Women’s Committee Work Program for 2015-2016 was to improve the awareness of national trade unions on major European policies and legal instruments for action in the field, to meet today’s challenge of a lowered status of gender equality in Europe because of the realignment of European policies towards the economy rather than towards the social agenda, as well as to facilitate a cross-national exchange of information and best practices on how trade unions could contribute to ensure gender equality in the labor market.

The current situation of the labor market and welfare across Europe is extremely worrying, as recent reforms by national authorities have led to and could continue resulting in cuts in public funding and reduced social dialogue. Precariousness and job insecurity are two prerequisites for expanding gender inequalities in the society as a whole. It is therefore essential to act towards making gender equality a real rather than a rhetorical priority.

The PERC Work Program for 2015-2016 contained the following four main themes: promoting women in decision-making (sustainable jobs, secure income, social protection, organizing women, organizing informal work, labor rights, union rights); addressing gender roles (eliminating violence against women, eliminating stereotypes, promoting women’s involvement in the labor market); supporting work-life balance (social protection, flexible working arrangements, childcare and elder services); and tackling the gender pay gap (social protection, wages, education and training, pensions).

This year the committee will continue working on these main priority lines and will prepare the PERC women’s conference which will take place in autumn in Tbilisi/Georgia. In order to prepare the conference the committee will work on the new program and prepare the election of the new committee.