Delegates at the European regional conference in Warsaw heard a presentation on the continuing and pervasive problem of violence against women and strategies to combat it in their unions and beyond.
Haldis Holst, of UEN Norway and EI Vice-President for Europe, made a presentation on behalf of the Status of Women Committee which offered a series of grim statistics about the depth and breadth of violence against women in all countries, and across all social and economic backgrounds.
For example, she reported that one in three women are likely to be beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. One in five women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape. An estimated 5,000 women a year are murdered by family members in the name of honour.
“Clearly, we have a job to do in the name of solidarity with women,” Holst said. “These women are among our membership, they are in our schools and our communities.”
She urged fellow trade unionists to inform their members, launch campaigns, join national alliances, participate in demonstrations, and produce information and teaching materials.
Slavomir Broniarz of ZNP Poland and Begoña Suarez of STES also gave presentations on the specific initiatives being taken by their respective unions to address gender equality issues.