Gloria Mills, UNISON addresses CSW61 on behalf of global unions

Proposed Statement for General Discussion – on behalf of Global Trade Unions - ITUC, EI, ITF and PSI

Thank you for this opportunity to present this statement on behalf of the Global Unions. Global Unions welcomes the focus of Commission on the Status of Women Sixty First Session on the theme of Women's Economic empowerment in the changing world of work.

Today, the changing world of work is characterised by more precarious and informal labour relations that affect the poor, especially women and vulnerable groups, most acutely. Racialised women and those experiencing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination are particularly marginalized.  Women's employment in the global economy tends to be concentrated in particular sectors such as domestic work, education, health and social care, hotel, retail, catering and cleaning services, textiles, and the agricultural sector.

Job segregation – both horizontal and vertical - is profound.  More than 300 million people in developing countries are employed within global supply chains - 44% are women. Today’s global supply chains are characterised by exploitation and precarious.

We believe that universal access to quality education, safe water, public care and health systems and to decent work are important pathways out of poverty; builds women's economic independence and enable women and girls to benefit from their economic contribution to society.

Privatisation has failed, it has impoverished women and girls access to decent work, equal pay an pensions.  Essential services need to remain in public hands. Public-public partnerships and public-community partnerships are a way of doing it.

One source of public investment in public services and the public care economy, have to come from  taking effective action against tax fraud and putting in place progressive national and international tax systems, as well as, fighting corruption.

Global Unions believe that economic justice for women is long overdue and that it is imperative that Governments take action to improve the economic status and role of women in all spheres of public policy and public life. However, despite the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted by the Commission on the tenth, fifteenth and twentieth anniversaries of the Fourth World Conference on Women - huge economic and structural barriers in society impede women's economic empowerment, prevents them from achieving economic independence and prevents them from achieving their full potential relative to men in society.  

Global Unions believes that Governments should lead by example and become beacons of good practice in accelerating implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the gender-responsive implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Quality and gender responsive public services are an ethical and material base for the materialization of women´s rights.

We believe that economic justice for women is long overdue and that it is imperative that Governments take action to improve the economic status and role of women in all spheres of public policy and public life. We commit to take the lead as stakeholders. Trade Unions are legitimate players in the achievement of:

  • Decent Work,
  • Closing the gender pay gap
  • Establishing living minimum wage and social protection systems,
  • Raising the social value of women’s historical work and change labour segregation,
  • Stop gender-based violence in the world of work: campaign for a binding ILO standard on violence against men and women in the world of work;

Our key messages are that:

Trade Unions, social dialogue and collective bargaining play key role in underpinning protection for women and eliminating persistent inequalities. Public services, level the playing field and reduce economic inequalities ensuring no one is left behind!

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