In July 2013, the Solidarity Center hosted a meeting of nearly 100 worker/activists, union leaders, and academics to share experiences and ideas for advancing women’s labor rights and gender equality. The conference focused on three themes: women’s labor rights in agriculture and light manufacturing—two sectors that between them employ hundreds of millions of women around the world and which are central to the economic development of many countries—and transformational leadership in unions. Transformational leadership is a way of leading based on inclusion, power sharing, participation, and collective analysis that enables and relies upon workers’ voices to be front and center and readily embodies gender equality as a core principle.

Participants’ inspiring and insightful presentations and discussions reflected the scope, power and depth of women’s leadership in the international labor movement.

Read the Conference summary.

Scroll down to read the full conference proceedings.


July 30
Opening Remarks and Welcome

Leadership, Transformation and Labor Rights: The Essential Vision and Role of Women

Concurrent Workshops
Union Strategies to Increase Women’s Participation in Brazil: Perspectives from Industrial, Public and Service Sectors

Allies and Partners: Role of Men in Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality in Trade Unions

Utilizing Legal Mechanisms to Fight Gender Discrimination and Support Women Workers Rights

Young Workers: Challenges Now and in the Future

Women Worker Rights in Agriculture: The Reality, Challenges and Opportunities


July 31
Women Worker Rights and Gender Equality in Light Manufacturing: What Way Forward?

Bringing Back the Heart: Gender Action Learning Process with Four Trade Unions in South Africa

Concurrent Workshops
Organizing Women in the Agricultural Sector

Brazil’s Integrated Education and Solidarity Economy: Opening Pathways to Income and Citizenship

Strategic Alliances for Working Women’s Rights: Unions and NGOs

Decisions in Union Organizing: Applying a Gender Analysis to Organizing Campaigns

Concurrent Workshops
Building Women’s Power in Times of Political Change: Examples from MENA
Mechanisms for Increasing Women’s Participation in Unions: Education, Policies, Quotas and Budgets
Women Workers Organizing: Examples from India, Brazil and Liberia

Conclusions Panel: What Did We Learn/Where Do We Go From Here?

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