Roadmap outlined in ILO workshop on “Women’s Representation in Decision-Making Mechanisms of Social Partners”

The ILO Office for Türkiye held a workshop to identify steps to strengthen women’s representation in the decision-making mechanisms of social partners, where recommendations were offered that workers’ and employers’ organizations draw up joint roadmaps, and temporary special measures such as quotas be introduced.

News | 12 May 2023
The ILO Office for Türkiye held a workshop on 4 May 2023 in Ankara on “Women’s Representation in Decision-Making Mechanisms of Social Partners” to identify recommendations and possible steps to improve the current situation in promoting women’s leadership in trade unions.

Joint roadmap for common problems

Organized under the “More and Better Jobs for Women Programme II” implemented by the ILO Office for Türkiye with funding from Sweden, and premised on the fact that women’s representation was limited in the decision-making mechanisms relating to the world of work including labour organizations, the workshop addressed the importance of women’s roles in trade unions and representation in decision-making mechanisms, and how to enhance their presence.

At the workshop attended by the representatives of workers’ and employers’ organizations and civil society organizations, the prominent recommendation was that action be carried forward through such objectives and roadmap that would be jointly agreed by workers’ and employers’ organizations on account of the common issues relating to women’s stronger representation in the decision-making mechanisms of social partners.

Another prominent recommendation emerging in the workshop was that such workshops be replicated and group-oriented training be held where the relevant parties including workers’ and employers’ organizations and women’s organizations would come together in the lead of ILO.

Emphasis on temporary special measures

Another issue frequently raised in the group discussions during the event was to set quotas for women’s higher representation both in trade union structures and memberships and in decision-making positions. A specific recommendation was to act in line with the guidance of quasi-quota systems as practiced in umbrella international organizations of trade unions such as European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), and IndustriALL

Gender equality training and use of social media

The participants also indicated that it would be a significant step to provide gender equality training to organizations’ employees and members including particularly managing staff to move towards gender equality and strengthen women’s leadership in trade unions.
Other recommendations included that social media be used more effectively and extensively, workers’ and employers’ organizations sign joint declarations of agreement, and the matter be included collective labour agreements.

“Equal opportunities prerequisite to social justice”

ILO Türkiye Officer-In-Charge Giovanni di Cola underlined the importance of increasing the number of women leaders in the world of work including at workers’ and employers’ organizations to achieve gender equality and reduce the gender gap in employment.

Giovanni di Cola also emphasized that social justice could not be achieved without gender equality, and it was important that women’s leadership be prioritized and progress on the matter be monitored by social partners.

Making a presentation on international labour standards focusing on gender equality, Ms. Ebru Özberk Anlı, Senior Programme Officer at the ILO Office for Türkiye, underlined the importance and power of ILO standards in achieving gender equality and promoting women’s leadership in the world of work.

At the event, Dr. Ayşe Emel Akalın, Gender Analyst and Ms. Nergis Calbay, Administrative Assistant, both at the ILO Office for Türkiye, presented respectively on the objective of the workshop, and the work undertaken in the framework of the programme in light of ILO international labour standards.

“Women’s leadership for decent work”

Prof. Dr. Seyhan Erdoğdu made a presentation on “Good Practices on Women’s Representation in Decision-Making Mechanisms, Leadership and Gender Equality at Social Partners” and underlined the importance of enhanced women’s representation and leadership at labour unions to enable more women to work under decent conditions, create a democratic social order, and empower the labour movement.

Recommendations for workers’ and employers’ organizations

Erdoğdu also noted that in order to increase women’s membership in labour unions and participation in management, encouraging mechanisms would include baseline surveying and data collection; launching organizing campaigns targeting women; formulating trade union policies for gender equality; incorporating equality in collective labour agreements; increasing women’s participation in trade union leadership and decision mechanisms through including setting women’s quotas.

Concerning employers’ organizations, Erdoğdu suggested various steps to increasing women’s membership and participation in management such as establishing a policy paper for gender equality or adopting a joint gender quality policy paper in partnership with workers’ organizations; establishing equality committees with clear terms of reference within each employers’ organization and setting goals to increase women’s presence at management boards and in management positions.