PERC Women’s Committee meeting, 21-22 February 2018

The PERC Women’s Committee meeting took place in Brussels from 21 to 22 February 2018.

The main issues on the agenda were: the report of activities for 2017 presented by Sabine Slegers, the president of the PERC Women’s Committee, main challenges and priorities in the PERC region presented by Anton Leppik, Executive Secretary of PERC, discussion and adoption of the PERC Women’s’ Committee Work plan for 2018, preparation for the PERC Executive Committee meeting which will take place on 6th of March; discussion about ITUC frontlines in preparation for the ITUC Congress this year; raising 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.

The current situation of the labor market and welfare across Europe is 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 expanding gender inequalities in the society as a whole: women are still paid less than men; the gender pay gap has not narrowed in recent years; despite of high level of education decision making positions at political and economic level are predominantly held by men; glass ceilings that stop women rising up the work hierarchy; glass walls that segregate women into particular jobs; women are not enough represented in decision making positions in trade unions; persistence of domestic violence and violence at workplace; vulnerable groups: younger generation-gender stereotypes and disparities; gender inequalities in education; migrant women - have fewer opportunities and resources and face multiple discrimination; elderly women- greater risk of poverty.

Despite the increased challenges and difficulties that women’s structures face in their work in many PERC organizations, a great number of activities, capacity building actions, campaigns have been organized: the Count Us In! Campaign was signed by majority of organizations in the region; recently good progress has been made with increasing the number of women in top leadership positions - 30.3 per cent of elected top-leadership positions are women; labor reforms as part of the Count Us In! campaign took place in Moldova and Georgia; social protection and child care benefits were discussed in most organizations; pensions reforms in Moldova and Georgia; informal economy in Central Asian countries; awareness and capacity building programs for women and men on gender equality have been developed in Moldova, FNPR Russia, KTR Russia, GTUC Georgia with an accent on organising young women.

Special attention during the meeting has been given to the ITUC and ETUC campaigns for the 8th of March. PERC Women’s Committee decided to join the ITUC campaign in fighting against gender based violence at the workplace and to lobby governments for an ILO instrument and the ETUC campaign on work life balance. Campaigns were presented to the committee members by Chidi King, Director of the ITUC Equality department and Montserrat Mir, Confederal Secretary of ETUC.