PERC Women’s School on Promoting women in leadership positions in trade union organisations, Tallinn, 15-16 October

The Women’s School this year was organized especially for young women trade unionists and gathered around 25 representatives of women’s committees and networks in the PERC region: Balkans, Community of Independent states, Central and Eastern Europe and some representatives from Western Europe.
The main theme of the School was promoting women in leadership positions in trade union organizations.

The meeting was organized with the support from FES and the PERC Women’s Committee who worked on the program and organization of work during the School.
The main purpose of the School was to discuss the promotion of women in leadership positions in trade unions. The program contained the following main items: the actual situation of women participation in trade unions and leadership positions based on the Survey organized by the PERC Women’s Committee this year; to identify the challenges for young women representation in trade unions and leadership positions; how to empower women in leadership and the challenges of young people on the labour market; examples from participant countries as concerns women access to decision making positions; obstacles for participation of young women in unions and how to overcome them based on the DFL projects developed in the region; how to organize young women in unions and how to organize campaigns for attracting young people in unions. Group work was organized in order to come with concrete recommendations to the PERC Women’s Committee Work Plan.
Here are some proposals of action at national and regional levels :

• Arrange a meeting with leaders (e.g. general secretary/ president) to present and talk about promoting women in leadership postions
• Include the campaign for promotion of women in leadership positon in the PERC Women’s Committee work plan
• Support women to stand up for elections through: mentorship schemes, and/or training for women in leadership skills
• Conduct a survey on women in leadership/decision-making positions in the national centres and prepare a list of affiliates who don’t comply with the 30% quota
• Prepare case studies of ITUC affiliates which comply with the 30% target which show that by having women in leadership positions , unions are able to organise more women workers (increase of female membership)
• Provide support to women trade union leaders to remain in their positions
• Collect information/stories on female role-models which can be inspirational for young women in the unions
• Need to assess if introducing a quota system to ensure women’s participation in leadership positions is an effective mechanism
• Need to mobilise men to support women to take up leadership positions
• Develop coordinated actions between the Women’s Committee and Youth Committee
• Include gender quota and women’s issues in all the programmes/ events (e.g. training on organising etc.) of every ITUC affiliate
The participants in the School decided to organize the PERC young women network which will gather all young women willing to contribute to promoting of women in leadership positions.