About three quarters of EI’s member organisations have a committee dealing specifically with women’s rights and gender equality. Now one more organisation can count itself among these. The Status of Women’s Committee of the St. Lucia Teachers’ Union is charged with addressing gender equality among teachers, and with empowering its members.
Approximately 85% of the teachers on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia are women. Saluting them for their dedicated service, and recognising the many successes of women all over the world, the St. Lucia Teachers’ Union hosted its annual Women’s Conference in March. The theme was “Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women”.
The highlight of the Conference was the election of the Status of Women’s Committee, consisting of seven members. Their task is to address gender equality among teachers, and to empower the women union members and increase their participation, visibility and leadership in the union.
Virginia Albert, EI Coordinator for the Caribbean, praised the role of Mr. Julian Monrose, President of the St. Lucia Teachers’ Union, in establishing this new Committee: “This is the first time that I have seen a male president of a teachers’ union being so passionate about creating a committee for gender equality. He was determined to include as many women as possible, and managed to get the full support of the National Executive and the General Council for making the Committee a formal body in the union.”
Already previously, at the Biennial Conference of the Caribbean Union of Teachers in August 2009, Mr. Monrose was congratulated as the only male president of the teachers’ unions in the Caribbean who has always attended all the sessions of the Women’s Biennial Conference.
Jan Eastman, EI Deputy General Secretary, similarly praised the efforts of the St. Lucia Teachers’ Union: “I congratulate the members of the new Status of Women’s Committee, and salute the President of the union. This is what the teachers’ movement needs to really move forward the equality agenda: Women and men who are committed to the goal of gender equality and women’s empowerment, and who see the strong role that unions have in realising this goal.”
Gender equality in and through teachers’ unions will be the main theme of the EI Women’s Caucus, which will take place on 21 July in Cape Town, South Africa, preceding the 6thEI World Congress.