Congress Women's Conference 2014
Women organising for decent work took place in Wexford - 6/7 March 2014. Details here
A Woman's Place is in her Union
Congress Women's Seminar International Women's Day 2013
Pics and reports from our seminar 8 March 2013 here
Congress Women's Conference 2012 - 1st and 2nd March in Belfast, Waterfront Hall
Congress was delighted and honoured to host President Michael D Higgins as a guest speaker at our Congress Women's Committee Conference, which took place in Belfast today (2nd March). Full address here.
This was President Higgins' first visit to Belfast since his election.
Congress General Secretary David Begg warmly welcomed the decision and said it was an honour to have President Higgins at the conference. RTE News coverage of the President's visit - here
The biennial conference of the Congress Women's Committee brings together over 200 delegates from more than 40 trade unions across the island of Ireland.
Women now constitute the majority of trade union members in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Report and agenda for the Conference is available here.
Guest speakers included:
Sylvia Walby - gave a gendered analysis of the crisis. More here
Michelle O Sullivan presented research on actual payments to people covered by JLCs and REAs. More here
Andy Snoddy spoke about organising women during the crisis. More here
The Women's Committee at Congress BDC 2011
Margaret Browne addressed the delgates at the BDC in Killarney, July 2011. Full speech available here
Congress National Women's Seminar - Cork 4/5th March 2011
The Congress National Women's Seminar took place in Cork 4/5th March 2011 on the eve of the the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. More than 150 women will gather this weekend to discuss the Impact of the Recession on Women's Rights and how trade unions are rersponding. See programme here
The seminar took place during Fairtrade Fortnight (28 Feb to 13 March), the theme of which is: 'Show off your label'.
Video - Decisions for Life: Helping young working women
7 March 2011: Decisions for Life campaign empowers and connects young working women around the world. Watch it here
Campaigning tool available also
Congress is a strong supporter of Turn Off the Red Light : End Prostitution in Ireland Campaign.
As awareness of the harm caused by sex trafficking and exploitation in the sex industry grows, men in favour of reform of Ireland's outdated prostitution laws today (Feb 2 2011) spoke in support of the "Turn Off the Red Light: End Prostitution in Ireland" campaign. Chaired by Theo Dorgan, among those to speak were 2 trade union leaders, David Begg (ICTU), and Eamon Devoy (TEEU) who called for action to prevent the sexual exploitation of women and children in Ireland through dissuasive measures against those who buy sex. Mr Begg said: 'Having legislation in place that says we, as a society, do not believe it is acceptable for someone to buy another's body for sexual gratification, exploiting the poverty, past history of abuse or limited life choices of the person being bought, would send a very clear message that we are a society committed to equality.' Mr Devoy added that prostitution could not be considered "work" and that we should be concerned to ensure that support services are in place to assist people involved in prostitution to exit.
More information on the event here. Read the testimonies of some of the fwomen in prostitution interviewed by the research team on the report Globalisation, Sex Trafficking and Prostitution: the Experiences of Migrant Women in Ireland, 2009.
Congress also recently participated at the Dignity (an interagency initiative working to deliver quality services for victims of sex-trafficking in Ireland) seminar to mark the conclusion of the project. The evaluation report of the Dignity Project - which covers the project's approach and recommendations - will be available on the project's website by the end of February (2011).
"From membership to leadership: advancing women in trade unions"
The 2010 ETUC project "From membership to leadership: advancing women in trade unions" has made a strong case for a renewed and strategic approach to achieving gender balance in decision-making and leadership structures, as a basis for union democracy and for realising gender equality at societal, economic and political levels. A resource guide has also been published to spread good practices cases collected via this project and to support affiliates' efforts to achieve gender balance. Congress presentation on the issue available here.
Congress Women's Committee Networking Roundtable event 25th May, 2010
About 30 people, including 10 members of the Executive Council of Congress, attended the above event at Liberty Hall. The purpose of the event was for members of the Executive Council, key representatives of other Congress Committees to meet with members of the Womens' Committee to explore common issues of concern and to assess how we can work better together into the future. Chaired by Sally Anne Kinahan, speakers included:
Susan McKay, Director of the National Women's Council;
Patricia King, Congress Vice President.
Clare Treacy and Taryn Trainor (Joint Chairs of the Committee) also gave short overviews of the activities of the Committees. This was followed by a discussion on the best way forward.
Congress Womens Conference 2010 - "Building Equality into Recovery"
Nearly 200 trade union delegates and guests gathered in Belfast on 5th and 6th of March at the Biennial Congress Womens Conference.
Report of the Executive Council and the Womens' Committee to the Conference
Opening address by Congress President, Jack O'Connor
Presentation by Congress Assistant General Secretary, Sally Anne Kinahan
Speech by Peter Bunting, Congress Assistant General Secretary
Presentation by Eileen Lavery, Equality Commission, N.Ireland
Monica O'Connor's presentation on trafficking for sexual exploitation
The conference was held on the eve of International Womens Day 8 March 2010
The National Womens Council held a discussion based on the book - The Equality Illusion, by Kat Banyard. The Equality and Rights Alliance have also claimed that discrimination against pregnant women and new mothers is on the rise in the workplace due to the recession.
Women and the Recession - One Year On by the TUC is available to download.
Also, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) published the report Decisions for Work which examines the factors affecting women's decisions about work around the world.
The European Trade Union Confederation said that an increasing number of female workers are joining the ranks of trade unions throughout Europe. According to this year's European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) 8th March Survey, women account for around 45% of the trade union membership of ETUC, which is an increase of 3 per cent since 2006.
Meanwhile, the European Commission in a press conference on 5th March 2010, announced a EU Women's Charter setting out a commitment to gender equality. President Barroso said:"I would like to say that the Charter will be this Commission's calling card on gender equality for the next five years.
We are putting gender equality at the heart of our Europe 2020 strategy. A growth potential will not be achieved unless it is inclusive growth. Getting women into work will help us get out of the crisis." This followed the earlier announcement of a strategy on the gender pay-gap which currently stands at 18% across the EU (Ireland comes in at 17.1%). The actions include a new gender pay gap calculator which allows workers and employers to calculate the pay gap in their country and sector.
The Commission already runs a data-base of women in decision-making across the EU (country by country, sector by sector) and it shows that in national parliaments, less than one in four members is a woman. In business, the situation is even worse with, on average, one woman out of ten members of boards in the European largest publicly quoted companies. In the science and technology spheres, few women hold top positions. Read about the Eurobarometer survey on gender equality
Congress Womens Committee Meeting with President McAleese "a celebration of 50 years of Struggle and Achievement"
Congress Womens Committee today (November 4) met with President McAleese on the occasion of its 50th Anniversary. The meeting took place at Aras an Uachtaran, at the invite of President McAleese. Current and former members of the Congress Joint Women's Committee were in attendance. Speaking in advance, Patricia McKeown, a former president of Congress said: "We are delighted that President McAleese has invited us to celebrate with her 50 years of struggle and achievement, on the part of the members of the Women's Committee, past and present." Full press release
Congress Womens Seminar 2009 - Women and the Recession
About 180 women trade unionists from across the whole island gathered in Belfast in March 2009. Organised by the Congress Womens Committee, the seminar was considered the likely effects of the recession on women and how trade Unionist could ensure a gender perspective in our response to the challenging economic scenario.
Among the contributors were:
Patricia McKeown, Congress President; Carol Baxter, Head of Development at the Equality Authority; Evylyn Collins, CEO of the Equality Commission N.Irl; Marian Harkin, MEP, Nancy Coro Aguiar (Cuba), and Tara Scott from the Ethical Pest Campaign.
See full report of our March 2009 seminar - Women and the Recession.
See also a very useful TUC Report on Women and the Recession.
Womens Conference 2008
Click here for a copy of the motions passed at the Womens Conference 2008, Tralee, Co. Kerry.
ETUC disappointed about failure European parliament to improve maternity protection
On Wednesday 6 May 2009, the European Parliament (EP) was expected to vote on proposals of the European Commission to improve the protection of pregnant workers and young mothers in Europe. Due to strong opposition by the conservative and liberal groups in the EP, the report was not put to the vote, and the issue was referred back to the responsible committee in the EP. The European Trade Union Confederation is very disappointed with this outcome.
ITUC Maternity Video
And see ITUC video on maternity protection
Evolution of March 8th as International Womens Day
Read this SIPTU publication about the history of International Womens Day.
Gender Inequalities in Time Use
The Equality Authority and the ESRI have published a ground breaking report on 'Gender Inequalities in Time Use - The Distribution of Caring, Housework and Employment among Women and Men in Ireland'. (2008). This report analyses time diaries from just over 1000 men and women, aged 18 to 97, from the Irish National Time Use Survey 2005 to gather information on paid and unpaid work. This analysis looks in detail at the breakdown of tasks between women and men. It is the first systematic study of gender differences in unpaid work among all adults in Ireland. It also looks at the distribution of time between women and men in couples.
Congress guide to breastfeeding right at work
Congress guide to domestic violence and the workplace
Report of Gender Equality Programme 1999 2004
Code of Practice for Dealing with Complaints of Sexual Harassment in VEC Workplaces
Advisory Committee on equal opportunities for women and men
The Advisory Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men assists the European Commission in formulating and implementing the European Union activities aimed at promoting equality between women and men - more here
Global Trends in Women's Access to 'Decent Work
Dialogue on Globalization Occasional Paper No 43, by Maria S. Floro and Mieke Meurs.
Globalisation, Sex Trafficking and Prostitution: the Experiences of Migrant Women in Ireland
The Immigrant Council of Ireland has published a major report on the above topic. This report presents stark evidence of the trafficking of women into and through Ireland for the purposes of sexual exploitation. It shines a light on the reality that large numbers of migrant women are being sexually exploited in indoor prostitution in Ireland. Drawing on the experiences of these women, the report illustrates the severe emotional, physical and psychological harm that women who are trafficked and sexually exploited in Ireland endure. This report was written by Carmel and Patricia Kelleher, of kelleher associates, Monica O'Connor and Dr Jane Pillinger.
The National Womens Council
Founded in 1973, the National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI), Comhairle Náisiúnta na mBan in Eirinn, is the national representative organisation for women and women's groups in Ireland promoting equality, human rights and empowerment for all women.