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UNI South Asian Professional Women’s Network Launches to Rise Together


UNI South Asian Professional Women’s Network Launches to Rise Together

In anticipation of International Women’s Day (IWD), the UNI South Asian Professional Women’s Network (SAPWN) was officially launched on 19 February 2024. The network coordinates women trade union leaders from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.  

UNI World Executive Board Member representing South Asia from CBEU Sri Lanka Sister Shanika Silva was the founding convener of the network. The inaugural online meeting fostered a dynamic discussion among female professionals from various South Asian UNI affiliates. The network’s first action was deciding to launch an IWD campaign, dedicated to advancing gender equality by confronting gender-specific occupational health and safety challenges. Additionally, members agreed to establish social media profiles across diverse platforms to amplify their campaign’s reach.

UNI Equal Opportunities global staff Veronica Fernandez and Marta Ochoa, observers at the meeting, pledged solidarity and support for the initiative.

Sister Shanika Silva expressed her gratitude, stating, “I deeply appreciate the honour and privilege of being appointed as the first founding convener of SAPWN. I firmly believe that each member within our network possesses the strength and courage to galvanize professional women across South Asia for trade union activities.”

Shanika Silva, CBEU Sri Lanka

Anjali Bedekar, Director for UNI Apro Equal Opportunity & Women Activities, said, “I am confident that every member of the network is inspired to actively promote and uphold gender equality, thus securing workplace rights and societal equality as a unified force within the trade union movement.”

Rajendra Acharya, UNI Asia & Pacific Regional Secretary, lauded the network’s launch, saying, “This is an exemplary initiative, and I look forward to its expansion to drive progress and enhance women’s representation and influence within South Asian workplaces and unions.”

SAPWN emerged successfully from a joint FES-UNI Workshop on Empowerment of Women for Transformative Change in South Asia, convened in Kathmandu, Nepal on 2-3 November 2023. Conceptualized by the UNI Asia & Pacific Professional & Managers Group, this pilot workshop garnered support from FES to provide women with opportunities to share their remarkable successes as professional role models and trade union advocates.


Equal Opportunities

UNI Asia & Pacific