It is high time that everybody has the same opportunities regardless of gender, Ann Selin, President of Service Union United PAM of Finland, insists in her speech on 4 December 2014 at the UNI Global Union Women’s Conference in Cape Town, South Africa.
- Women’s capacity and competences are still not sufficiently utilised in the world. Even if we constitute half of the population and we hold half of the human capital, she adds.
According to PAM’s President, it should be self-evident by now that gender plays no role when it comes to how we are treated, for example, at the workplace, home, in society and in unions.
- To take an example, women account for a hugely growing share of higher education but this is not reflected in the labour market. We also know that women are not on an equal footing with men when it comes to pay and decision-making positions.
To quote another example, 46% of the largest worldwide companies have no women in their Boards. We should improve networking but if the number of women is not increasing through other means, Ann Selin finds that quotas should not be excluded as a possible remedy. Moreover, women would seek for business responsibilities in the companies rather than just strive for the traditional posts of HR or communications.
The labour movement also has a lot to do to promote gender equality. UNI has adopted a goal to have at least 40% representation of both genders in all UNI bodies. Ann Selin is content to say that this goal is almost accomplished.
- We women must also help each other to climb the union ladder. We need to encourage women to be organisers, union officials and stand for elections of union leadership.
Ann Selin urges women to support each other, and others who may be in minority, and in need of help.
- I urge us all to work together. Work for women is not work against men, Ann Selin concludes her speech.
The UNI Global Union’s Women’s Conference on 4 and 5 December in Cape Town will be followed by the UNI World Congress on 7 to 10 December. The closing address in the meeting of Wednesday 10 December will be held by Finland’s former President Tarja Halonen. The election for UNI's new president will be held earlier on the same day, with Ann Selin of PAM standing as a candidate for the position.
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Service Union United PAM of Finland is a trade union for people working in the private services sector with 230 000 members.
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