Every year for 8 March statistics are compiled and messages released. For one day, the world's attention is focused on “women's issues”. And then?
This year, the IFJ Gender Council wants to contribute to lasting change by harking back to the earliest known Women's Day celebration, the anniversary of 1908 strike of the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union in New York, and invites all unions to actively seek women's full participation. Over one hundred years ago, our voices could not be silenced, but there is still a struggle going on to be heard.
Instead of a struggle, the Gender Council is encouraging all unions to seek ways to open doors and create a balance of all voices that contribute to the diversity of our profession. Join the campaign for more women in more unions. Especially when unions are struggling for members, remember the collective power and spirit of the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union and reach out.
There is one more thing we are going to ask of you, because time is of the essence and the moment is now. For a long time there has been at discussion at the International Labour Organisation of the possibility of a convention against Gender Based Violence in the Workplace. The struggle going on right now is whether it will even make it to the agenda. The ILO governing body will discuss it's inclusion, beginning on 12 March, so now is the time to lobby and write letters to the ILO in support of a convention.
So, if you really want to make a difference today, act now, raise awareness, encourage more women to join and fully participate in our unions. Begin a process to create lasting change and – please – send a letter of support to the ILO to get Gender Based Violence in the Workplace firmly on the agenda.
Co-Chair, IFJ Gender Council