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Gender & Equality

THE WOMEN AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT

This is a department within the framework of other departments in COTU (K). The department's role is to attend to all matters that relate to women affairs in their day-to-day work, be it in their working places, homes or the community.

THE PURPOSE:

The main functions of the department are: -
To co-ordinate women activities within the trade union movement.

Motivate women workers into joining unions.

Stimulate the women to formulate, design and implement development projects.

Provide fundamental trade union leadership skills to women so that they can play a larger role in the activities of their trade unions.

To encourage the formation of formal/ informal welfare/savings groups, among women workers,

Reach out to involve more rural women in the trade union movement.

To motivate women to contribute more in the National Development in their role as workers.

Provide a forum for interaction of working women with other unions and other development oriented women organisations.

To facilitate information exchange locally and in international forums.

WHY DID COTU (K) DECIDE TO ESTABLISH THE WOMEN AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT

The realisation by the National Body COTU (K) that women are not participating fully in the trade union movement, although they constitute a large number in the paid workforce.

So far there are few trade union officials who are women thus leaving most of the decision - making to men even those decisions that affect them. Thus the need to have the women's department whose sole responsibility is the concern of women. The ultimate goal is to motivate and stimulate women to take an active, participative role in the Labour Movement.

HOW IT WILL WORK

The major role of the department will be coordinating women activities within the trade unions that are affiliated to COTU (K). It will also act as a source of information desk on various issues that affect women be it in the area of health care, paid work-force. child-care, safety measures, etc.

The department will build on the existing networks within the unions affiliated to COTU (K) to put women working committees in touch with each other and facilitate exchange of information locally and internationally.

AREAS OF INTEREST

The day-to-day happening, in our homes, communities and in the paid workforce is always a concern to women. The department will look into various areas that will help increase women participation in trade unions and impart a sense of oneness with their fellow male union members in the Labour Movement. Issues related to education of women workers, safety measures, child-care, income generation, equal pay for work of equal value appropriate technology, day care centres, labour saving devices will be of great interest to the department.

Close collaboration with affiliated unions will ensure proper flow of information and that women views are communicated to the decision makers.

WHAT DOES THE DEPARTMENT HOPE TO ACHIEVE

The department's ultimate goal is to see more women participating in the trade union movement, having a greater say in the paid labour force and ultimately being involved in the decision-making process on issues that affect them. The desk will provide a forum for giving women more control over their own destiny in the labour movement and providing the kind of information that they need to be able to make decisions on matters affecting them so that they will feel more confident within the male dominated world of trade unionism. The aim is slowly move them from the "periphery" to the "core" of the Trade Union Movement.

In addition to the aforesaid issues concerning women workers, the department is also taking the responsibility of integrating gender issues into Trade Unions and creating awareness on the effects of HIV/AIDS epidemic to both affected and infected workers through education and counseling services