Despite the challenges of physical meeting restrictions going into the third year of the pandemic, the women of UNI Apro and its affiliates still managed to successfully mark the 112th anniversary of International Women’s Day with several activities in line with the UNI Equal Opportunities Department’s 2022 theme to support women’s health in the workplace and integrate a gender perspective in occupational safety and health policies.
The UNI Nepal Liaison Council’s Women’s Committee held an in-person training and celebration workshop, “Interaction on Gender Equality and OSH for Safe Workplace,” on March 7, bringing together more than 40 participants in Kathmandu, Nepal. Mrs. Asha Singh Rathour, a member of the ILO governing body representing Nepali trade unions, was the chief guest for the program. It was a meaningful and encouraging event as it was the first time many women leaders could interact in person after a long period of restrictions.
A special webinar was organised on March 12, featuring a great panel of speakers comprising senior women leaders from South Asian affiliates in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Their rich sharing and exchange of information on what unions have been doing on the ground to empower women workers to address occupational safety and health issues in their respective countries made the program more meaningful.
UNI Apro Regional Secretary Rajendra Acharya made a special appearance supporting the program. Alice Chang, Director for Commerce, gave the opening presentation, which critically emphasized the need for current OSH policies to be developed with a gender perspective. The guest keynote speaker, Dr. Vibhuti Patel, an eminent expert on women’s issues and currently the Vice President for Indian Association for Women’s Studies, covered comprehensively how OSH issues affected South Asian women and related policies have evolved. Her presentation validated many of the policy recommendations made during the webinar.
Another noteworthy event was the Joint ABU-UNI Apro MEI International Women’s Day Forum, “Gender Equality in the Media – Making It Happen, ” on March 7. The event was a continuation of the successful webinar series that UNI Apro MEI co-organised with the cooperation of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union in 2021.
The webinar featured a unique and successful gender equality project, “BBC 50:50: The Equality Project”. It was first initiated in 2017 within the BBC and aimed to improve women’s representation in media news reporting qualitatively. The project has expanded beyond the BBC to 135 media, communications, businesses, and universities partners across 29 countries in a few short years. The audience benefitted from hearing about the project implementation experience and its results from speakers from established media companies like the BBC, ABC, NHK, and the Yle Finnish Broadcasting Company. A union perspective was provided by Caroline Hemmington, BECTU representative within the BBC team.
Anjali Bedekar, UNI Apro Women Director, and Michelle Belino, UNI Apro MEI Director and UNI Apro Women Coordinator for Southeast Asia, jointly praised the sisters and colleagues who co-led these events.
“Ensuring gender perspective when developing OSH policies is key to enabling women to work safely and keep in good health in the workplace. And these events are good platforms for sharing policies, practices, and ideas contributing to a healthier and more equal workplace for women,” they said.
UNI Apro congratulates the dedicated UNI Apro Women team, our affiliates’ women leaders, and many more affiliate unions celebrating International Women’s Day.