In the framework of the Education International (EI) Africa Women Network 2021 activities, the Reseau des Enseignantes Syndicalistes de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (RESAO) organised a 2-day virtual workshop on Gender Training and Advocacy. The workshop took place from 7th to 8th December 2021 on Zoom. The workshop aimed at deepening knowledge and understanding of gender equality issues among union leaders to enhance political will and commitment to gender equality in unions and in education. The workshop brought together top union male and female leaders and gender officers/coordinators from EI affiliated unions in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
The main objectives of the workshop were (a) to strengthen participants' knowledge and skills in gender and leadership; (b) to discuss gender equality issues in trade unions and in education; (c) to share good practices in mainstreaming gender equality in trade unions and the education sector; (d) to discuss strategies to increase women's participation in trade union activities and leadership; and (e) to discuss strategies to revitalise the RESAO network.
Welcoming the participants to the workshop, EI Africa Regional Director, Dr Dennis Sinyolo said gender equality is at the heart of Education International and it is one of our core values and strategic priorities. “The best way of finding a solution to a problem is to diagnose its main causes. That is why EI Africa is undertaking a study on Women’s Participation and Leadership in Education Unions in Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, Cameroon, and Namibia. The study will help us to identify barriers and solutions so that we can achieve gender equality in our union structures “, he stated. He added that EI will be convening the 4th World Women’s Conference virtually from 13-15 June 2022.
The meeting received the RESAO activity report, as well as the unions ‘gender progress reports on the status of women in trade unions. Education International initiatives to promote women in education unions, women leadership, and advocacy were shared. The participants also discussed in breakout sessions, challenges for women’s participation in union activities and leadership and made a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) Analysis of the RESAO network. Based on the presentations, discussion and the results of the SWOT analysis, the meeting came up with clear strategies for strengthening women's participation in trade union activities and leadership and for strengthening RESAO.