ILO workshop identifies potential common approaches to strengthening the involvement of women in leadership positions among its social partners

The International Labour Organization (ILO) Office for Türkiye hosted a workshop aimed at strengthening the involvement of women in the decision-making mechanisms of its social partners. The participants, representing workers’ and employers’ organizations, reached consensus to develop a joint document that includes the delivery of leadership training to women.

News | 17 October 2023
The ILO Office for Türkiye hosted the second workshop on “Women’s Representation in the Decision-Making Mechanisms of Social Partners” in Ankara on 19 October, 2023 to identify the steps to be taken to strengthen and increase the involvement of women in the organizational structures of social partners.

These workshops, the first of which was held on 4 May, 2023 as part of the “More and Better Jobs for Women” Programme, are intended to determine a common roadmap, to identify the steps to be taken to increase the number of women in the organizational structures of unions and to strengthen their representation in decision-making mechanisms.

Among the participants of the workshop were representatives of workers’ and employers’ organizations and relevant civil society institutions who were unified in their support of the delivery of training on gender equality and leadership to the female employees of the social partners, for which ILO will take a leading role and provide technical support.

Leadership training to women and the common vision

The participants of the workshop reached consensus on the text of a common vision and the need for data-gathering studies to identify the number of women involved in the decision-making mechanisms of the social partners and the inclusion of articles for women’s leading roles in collective bargaining agreements. They also identified a need for awareness-raising works aimed at increasing the number of women employed by its social partners and their representation in decision-making mechanisms.

Delivering a speech at the workshop, Yasser Ahmed Hassan, Director of the ILO Office for Türkiye, stressed the importance of increasing the number of women in leading roles in working life, particularly among the workers’ and employers’ organizations, in a bid to reduce the gender gap in employment.

Women leaders for a more equal and inclusive working life

“The involvement of women in leadership positions in workers’ and employers’ organizations is of crucial importance given their ability to steer working life in a more equal and inclusive direction.”

“Having women in leading positions in the social partners can keep the issue of gender equality on the social dialogue agenda, and can contribute to ensuring gender equality in their own institutions and the workplaces they organized, while at the same time encouraging other women to overcome the gender-based obstacles they encounter in working life.”

During the event, Nergis Calbay, Gender and Social Dialogue Officer at the ILO Office for Türkiye, provided the participants with details of the outcomes of the first workshop held on 4 May.

Handbook for workers’ and employers’ organizations

The event also saw a presentation on what can be done to strengthen the involvement of women in leadership positions in workers’ and employers’ unions given by Prof. Seyhan Erdoğdu, author of “Women’s Leadership in Decision-Making Mechanisms of Social Parties: A Handbook for Workers’ and Employers’ Organizations”, which discusses why the number and representation of women remain low in the organizational structures of unions, and provides suggestions of what can be done to strengthen their hand in this regard.

The second session of the workshop took the form of a group work, moderated by Dr. Ayşe Emel Akalın, Gender Analyst at the ILO Office for Türkiye, during which the participants came up with recommendations for solutions, to be reflected in the proposed common text aimed at strengthening the involvement of women in leadership positions among the social partners.