Regional Orientation Training on Women’s Rights in the World of Work, and the Roles of Women in Trade Unions in South Asia South Asian Regional Trade Union Council (SARTUC)

Regional Orientation Training on Women’s Rights in the World of Work, and the Roles of Women in Trade Unions in South Asia South Asian Regional Trade Union Council (SARTUC) on 5-8 September 2022 in Kathmandu, Nepal   

South Asian Regional Trade Union Council (SARTUC) conducted four days of Orientation Training on Women’s Rights in the World of Work, and the Roles of Women in Trade Unions in South Asia. The participants in orientation training are from SARTUC’s affiliates (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan). Mostly, female trade union leaders from South Asia were engaged in the orientation training along with 3 male trade union leaders (17 females and 3 males).

The objectives of the orientation training are:

  • To impart knowledge and understanding of trade union leaders (both female & male) of SARTUC on women workers’ rights, the importance of trade unions, migrant workers, and the roles of women in South Asian Trade Union;
  • To enhance the leadership and advocacy skills of trade union leaders towards participating in collective bargaining, demanding their rights, taking up the issues of female migrant workers, unequal wages, and other forms of discrimination in the workplace.

The orientation training was designed and facilitated by Ms. Anna Tuvera from ITUC-AP. As a part of the orientation training, the resource persons discussed, interacted and shared their experience, research findings and knowledge with the participants on - women in South Asia; labour migration; Care economy; Formal and informal economy; Climate change and gender; digitalization of work; and Negotiation and collective bargaining process in the trade union movement. The four days of training was based on 4 modules – module 1) Trade unionism and me; module 2) the world of work and women’s labour rights; module 3) Me as a trade union leader; and module 4) Bargaining and negotiation is fun. The training was conducted in 20 sessions dividing the modules.

The opening session started with Rapid Fire question-answers with Mr. Laxman Basnet, General Secretary – SARTUC and Mr. Binod Shrestha, President – GEFONT.

Session 4 on women in south Asia was conducted by a resource person, Ms. Yutsha Bhattrai – a lecturer and a lawyer. She discussed the socio-political and cultural aspects of gender inequality in South Asia. She had given an overview of the women’s situation in South Asia, mainly in the world of work.

Session 8 was on deeper dive discussion on five different topics. The first presenter for the discussion was Ms. Neha Choudhary, ILO Nepal discussed on deeper dive discussion: Unions #CountEverybodyIn – leading the fight for (women) migrant workers’ rights. She presented on Gender-Responsive migration policy. She expressed general trends of women’s labour migration (4.2% of international migrant workers from South Asia; 1.4 million women migrant workers). Mr. Rajib Timilsina, Assistant Professor, Tribhuvan University presented on a deeper dive discussion: Filling the gaps: #InvestinCare. His presentation covered the introduction, position, some research findings, context and filling the gaps. Ms. Dikshya Singh, Researcher- South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE) presented on deeper dive discussion: Just transition from the informal to formal economy (Formalizing the Gendered informal). She shared the reality of 3/4th of workers in South Asia depend on income from activities in informal sectors; the share of workers in informal employment (including agriculture) is estimated to be at 87.8 per cent. Ms. Nisha Pandey- Freelancer presented on a deeper dive discussion: Gender inequality and climate change – what’s the connection. Her presentation was focused climate change and gender - 8 in 10 people displaced by climate change are women; as climate change intensifies, women face higher rates of violence, displacement, and poverty. Ms. Babita Basnet - Media person presented on deeper dive discussion: Labour rights in digital transformation – what’s in it for women? She expressed in her presentation about the forms of Cyber Violence against women; Security issues; Privacy Issues; Digital threats; Social networking worms; Phishing bait (Especially financial information via email); Pornography, trafficking, violence against women, and censorship (Control).

This final session provided participants with the opportunity to develop a shared vision of a trade union movement with equality at the core and motivation to move towards radical change. In this session, the participants were asked about the benefit of orientation training and how they will use learning skills in their trade unions for gender equality and the trade union movement. Everybody was grateful to the moderator (Sister Anna) for her interactive sessions, insightful discussions, informative subject matters/topics, engaging role-plays and entertaining games. All the participants liked the techniques and methods of training. All the participants shared their views on the 4 days’ of orientation training and their commitments after reaching their trade union. Furthermore, the participants provided their commitments and feedback to the training.  

The programme officially closed by providing a gratitude gift to Sister Anna (Moderator) from the SARTUC family and all the participants. Finally, Mr. Laxman Bahadur Basnet, General Secretary – SARTUC provided certificates of participation to all the participants.