The issue of how to promote gender equality in teacher unions and in the teaching profession was discussed at the ETUCE seminar on 7 May 2014. The seminar took place in Utrecht, where the headquarter of the Dutch education union AOb is located.
Following a warm welcome evening hosted by AOb, the participants viewed the current state of gender equality in teacher unions and in the teaching profession during the seminar’s morning session. The ETUCE online survey showed that women are underrepresented at all levels of decision-making in comparison to their growing percentage in membership. Cross-sectoral observations presented by Rosanna Ruscito from ETUC highlighted the important role of teachers and teacher unions to advocate for gender equality in society. Actions are needed to level the negative impact austerity has on gender equality and women’s rights.
Three teacher unions presented their good experiences with equality actions: Dorota Obidniak presented the wide spread of ZNP’s equality committees and NGOs in Poland, José Muijres introduced the successful AOb Academy for future trade union leaders, and Burcu Yilmaz explained how E?itim Sen sets up equality networks by implementing train-the-trainer activities in Turkey.
The discussion in the working groups showed that teacher unions need to fight back the deterioration of working conditions and the casualisation of the teaching profession as they directly contribute to the impact of austerity on women. Within teacher unions, women should be supported to be active members and take on union responsibilities.
The seminar was organised in the frame of the one-year ETUCE project “Promoting gender equality within teacher trade unions and in the teaching profession II”. To find out more about the project, please visit http://etuce.homestead.com/ETUCE_Equality_Project-2013_2014.html.