On Monday 14 October 2019 the UNI MEI Global Women Group met in Madrid, Spain, ahead of the UNI MEI Global and European Executive Committee meetings.

23 women from 15 countries, representing all UNI MEI regions, took part in lively and down-to-earth discussions on the progress achieved in the last year to empower women in our unions and in our sectors. The obstacles women still face to obtain full and effective equality were also addressed, as well as the potential actions to be implemented in the years to come to overcome those obstacles.

Updates from different countries – from massive marches and important amendments to the equality legislation in Spain, to the mobilisation of unions in Argentina, Australia or Sweden to fight gender-based violence –  demonstrated that change was happening and that efforts had to be maintained to obtain long lasting results.

The Women Group also had the privilege to hear and exchange with distinguished guests: the Secretaries for Equality of the Spanish unions FeSMC-UGT and FSC CCOO, Vanesa Barco and Begoña Marugán, the UNI Deputy General Secretary, Alke Boessiger, and Margherita Licata from the International Labour Organisation. With their support, further opportunities for actions were identified rooted, in particular, in the recent adoption of the ILO Convention on Violence and Harassment at Work.

The ILO Convention was also presented during the Global Executive Committee meeting the next day, a discussion that led the Executive Committee to adopt two key recommendations. In the coming months, UNI MEI will (1) include in its regional and global work a focus on the implementation of the ILO Convention and (2)  it will encourage and when possible facilitate peer-to-peer exchanges between affiliates for the advancement of gender equality within unions and in the workplace.