Kurdistan United Workers Union (KUWU) has formally established a women’s committee, with an office in the building of KUWU Erbil. Several women activists from Erbil and Sulaymaniyah were invited to be part of the committee, which will be supported by unionists local NGOs. The aim is to support gender equality and to connect the committee with NGOs and CSOs, integrating it into the women’s movement. Eventually, the women’s committee members will be trained to participate in union elections.
There are 7 unions in Kurdistan representing 7 sectors (oil and gas, food and agriculture, services, textile, transportation, construction, industries) in 6 different branches across Kurdistan. An executive board manages all branches, with the chairman of the board acting as head of KUWU. The working group on social justice, which is lead by Solidarity Center and part of the Kurdistan Social Forum process, observed a lack of female representatives in the branches management. All 7 unions mentioned are led by males. The working group therefore advocated for the establishment of a separate women’s committee, which was opened in March 2018.
The chairmen of all seven unions of Erbil branch attended the opening event and pledged their commitment to support fully the women’s committee. They were joined by several local NGOs who aim to strengthen the role of women in unions. These local NGOs are Kurdistan Women Group Organization (KWGO) and Coordinating Network Organizations (CNO). The committee in turn pledged to work closely with the NGOs.
Following its establishment, the committee visited women workers in various locations and informed them of the new committee in KUWU. This event was covered by local media.