Dear female colleagues, dear friends,
Our presence here today, fills us with great joy and optimism about the future. We convey you here the warmest greeting of the World Federation of Trade Unions which represents 92 million workers in 126 different countries of the world. First of all, allow us to congratulate you about the subject that you have chosen; the slogan “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work” stands as a realist necessity of our times. In parallel, for our trade union organization, the continuous improvement of the working women status is one of our main tasks.
It’s true that the working woman has conquered a significant amount of labor, salary and social security rights during the past century. However, there is no doubt that all these rights had been the result of collective efforts and important social struggles.
Unfortunately, over the latest period, the working woman position is being weakened at all levels. This is so because:
– Women get paid at a lower rate than men
– Working women have to deal not only with their job demands but also with the second job carried out in their homes.
– Immigrant working women frequently fall victims of racist and xenophobic phenomena.
– Women are “champions” in undeclared or “black” work.
Very briefly, this is the general picture. Nevertheless, the true question raised is what does “economic empowerment” mean for us, the working women? Is it about a general and abstract slogan or a feasible target?
The WFTU, since its foundation, has been firmly supporting that in order to achieve empowerment, are needed these following:
1) Stable work for the working women
2) Proper remuneration and an adequate social security cover
3) Equal working women participation in the decision-making-process.
4) Possibility of evolving and undertaking posts of responsibility
5) Respect to the sex, religion, language, color diversity etc.
For us, female trade-unionists, it is really important that we participate in the trade unions directions, being active for the defense of the people and labor rights. Without increasing women participation percentage among trade unions, the overall improvement of our life and action conditions won’t be possible. At a general level, working women must always be aware of all developments. They must not blindly accept whatever Media promote. It is no secret that some want to educate young women generations according to a distorted image of their real needs. Thus, our main task, in these first decades of the 21st Century, is that the female worker, the unemployed woman, the female pensioner or farmer, the indigenous women fight for the standard of living they truly deserve, in accordance with the modern level of scientific and technological achievements. As a result, we will also be able to attain the goal of today’s meeting, the Women’s Economic Empowerment in a such volatile environment.
We, from our side, we are committed from this podium, in front of women representatives from all the corners of the world, that we will continue the fight for the contemporary working women needs as well as for her economic empowerment.
Until the fulfillment of the goal proclaimed many years ago: I.e. the total participation of the women in the productive work and their detachment from the “household enslavement”.