Training Workshop on
“Labor Rights and Importance of Unionization for Women” For Women Home Based Workers, Village Chowa Gujjar.
Conducted By: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Working Women Union-Da Hawwa Lur Organization
Sponsored By: American Women for International Understanding
Date: 12 January, 2016
Da Hawwa Lur is a non-profit organization which is working to improve the socio-economic and cultural conditions for women in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Pakistan. We work to encourage women to take part in trade unions and raise awareness regarding their rights. Da Hawwa Lur advocates against all forms of gender discrimination and segregation – and any other barriers to women’s development. Da Hawwa Lur started working in 2000, with AASHA (Alliance against sexual Harassment) for drafting, lobbying, awareness and implementation of anti-sexual harassment legislation. Da Hawwa Lur established the first ever Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Working Women Union, which serves as the plat form for all the working women especially home based, domestic and factory/industry workers of the province by enhancing their leadership skills and organizing them into trade unions.
American Women for International Understanding collaborated with Da Hawwa Lur to build up the capacity of women home based workers on their basic labor rights and importance of unionization for them under the platform of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Working Women Union. Under this project 75 Home Based Workers were trained through 3 training sessions in Village Chowa Gujjar, Village Chamkani and District Peshawar. Along with the training sessions, 3 Home Based Workers Committees were formed, each consisting of 5 Home Based Workers representatives.
Women Workers and Trade Unions in Pakistan:
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is a highly conservative province of Pakistan. It is a region under attacked by the extremists and Taliban’s since last two decades. Patriarchy is practiced commonly while women are treated as commodities only. The number of women in the workforce in quite low as compared to men due to domestic restrictions. While the women who are employed among them many of those are employed as factory, domestic and home based workers. These working women are not much respected by the men and the employers. These working women face many problems at work place such as low wages, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, lack of implementation of labor laws, lack of linkages between workers and administration/management. These women hardly raise their issues and most of them are unable to stand for their rights just because of the fear of losing their jobs. Moreover majority of these women are unaware of the labor laws and articles related to women and workers rights. The KPK Working Women Union is an initiative to gather the working women under a united platform where they can discuss their issues and resolve them together. This is a platform under which working women unions are being formed for each category of profession because women in Pakistan only constitute 1.49% membership out of the 300,000 registered unions. While there is no women representation in the unions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa neither are they encouraged to take part in the union formation and memberships. The basic objectives of the KPK Working Women Union is to provide women with the right to association, rights to bargaining, basic constitutional and labor rights.
Training for Women Home Based Workers, Village Chowa Gujjar: The training took place on 12th January, 2016 in Village Chowa Gujjar. It was conducted and facilitated by the Non-Governmental Organization Da Hawwa Lur, which has long term experience in trainings on women laws and capacity building on leadership, women empowerment. The training was planned in a way that it will start from understanding of trade union and its importance, overview of labor movements and women participation. Gradually it moved to the background of problems faced by women workers and the basic laws/rights related to women workers. Along with it, ILO Conventions were also explained. To see the impact of training video responses of the participants were also recorded. The methodology of training was interactive and participatory through the use of presentations, discussions, visual aids and documentary which allowed participants to share their own experiences, limitations and strengths. Booklets, brochures, leaflets and other material on labor rights, ILO Conventions, Anti-Sexual Harassment Legislation, Unionization in Pakistan and its importance were also distributed among the participants.
The total number of women participated in this training session were 25, with various home based business and skills such as stitching, embroidery, burqa caps stitching, formation of dairy products, pickle formation, jewelry formation, beauty parlor etc.
The training objectives were to:
- Enhance the leadership, voice, influence and capacity of women in trade unions.
- Promote feminist / gender justice in trade union structures, programs and campaigns.
- Discuss on the challenges, issues for women, especially in the male-dominated and the repressive anti-union climate.
- Increase trade union organizing and collectivism in female intensive industries/labor sectors
- To aware women regarding their constitutional and labor rights/laws.