As part of the #GenderEqualNewNormal campaign, global unions and the ITUC held the “COVID-19: women workers on the frontlines” webinar this week. The widely attended, multi-lingual online event, streamed on Facebook, was the first of a series of three webinars whose aim is to foster dialog and a coordinated response to the Covid-19 pandemic’s disproportionate impact on women.
Alejandra Estoup, who represented UNI Global Union in the webinar said, “Women workers are heavily represented in the sectors which are on the frontlines in this crisis – health, finance, retail, postal and property services. Many companies are not doing what they should in this time of crisis, and trade unions all over the world are pushing to make sure that workers are protected.”
Estoup, and the other panellists, noted that in addition to the frontlines, many women are struggling in the pandemic in other ways—those who are teleworking are overburdened additional domestic labour including childcare and others have been hit with wage losses due to layoffs or reduced hours.
Panellists from all Global Union Federations included: Fulya Pınar Özcan from Turkey for, IndustriALL ; Caroline Espinos from Chile for Public Services International ; Juana del Carmen Britez from Argentina for International Domestic Workers’ Federation ; Alejandra Estoup from Argentina for UNI Global Union ; Patricia Alonso from Argentina for IUF ; Mich-Elle Myers from Australia for International Transport Workers’ Federation and Maria Ángeles Samperio from Spain for the International Federation of Journalists.
“Initiatives such as these ones are essential. Only by working together, by building solidarity, will we be able to come out of this crisis stronger,” added Estoup.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, UNI Global Union through its UNI Equal Opportunities department has remained engaged with all affiliated unions and women groups, listening to their needs and gathering information to provide recommendations and guidelines for unions to protect their women workers. On the “That’s Why” campaign website affiliates can access all this material under the logo #stillonthefrontlines.
The next webinar will take place on 2 June at 2pm CET and will address the issue of gender– based violence.