CUPE joined 160 trade unionists from 34 countries at the 60th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW60) in New York City in March.
The priority theme for this year’s session is “women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development”. The second (review) theme is violence against women and girls.
We attended workshops and panels on issues addressed in the Sustainable Development Goals, including employment, health, education, violence and climate change. Governments, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) host these events. Through social media and questions, trade union delegates influence the discussion. Sometimes, our leaders have the chance to speak at the official session or at government and UN side events. This year, Canada and the Canadian Labour Congress co-hosted a session at UN headquarters on domestic violence in the workplace.
As trade union delegates, we also influence the statement negotiated by member states over the course of the two-week session – by lobbying our government representatives and working with allies to lobby theirs. Labour activists work closely with feminists in other NGOs to coordinate our demands and strategy.
Finally, we engage in actions like the #JusticeForBerta rally to increase pressure on governments to protect human rights and advance gender justice.
Brittany Lambert, member of CUPE 2722 at Oxfam, and Irene Jansen, Senior Equality Officer at CUPE national office, attended on behalf of CUPE.
To follow trade union delegates still at CSW60, visit this blog.