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[APWLD] 2nd Asia Pacific “Women Leading, Women Organising” training

14 - 18 Sep 2015 | Workshop / Seminar / Training | Philippines | CSO Event

Women’s Labor Exploitation  Under Neo Liberalism the current Economic model:

Neo-liberalism, the economic growth development model with policies of deregulation, privatisation and trade liberalisation via free trade agreements has been rigorously pursued globally by states (backed up by large corporations)  including those in the Asia-Pacific. Under the pretext of attracting investments, providing jobs, generating revenues and creating development, neo-liberal globalisation has opened up our countries to international capital and international corporations whose main agenda is to increase their profits regardless the costs to human and natural resources[1]. Labour exploitation has intensified. Gains made by workers, including women, through decades of worker organising and struggles have been eroded. These include the contraction or elimination of key elements of decent work such as job security, right to living wage, decent working conditions, health and safety measures, and the crucial rights to organize, to bargain and to strike. On top of this, gender inequality in the workplace remains strong including a gender pay gap in favor of men,in Asia Pacific, withAsia having the highest gender pay gap.

Women continue to disproportionately face a range of multiple challenges relating to access to employment,working conditions, employment security, wage parity, discrimination, sexual harassment and other forms of sexual abuse in the workplace, and balancing the competing burdens of work and family responsibilities. Thus, exploitation of women workers is deepened by the intersections of socio-cultural norms backed by patriarchy and policies and institutional frameworks based on neo-liberal economic models.

Privatisation of basic social services such as health, education and housing, which are features of neo-liberal globalisation, has made these services inaccessible to the poor and has added to the burdens of women as mothers, wives and as social service workers.

Need for more women to unionise and to organise

Under the neo-liberal globalisation attack on decent work and worker’s and women’s rights, the need to organise and to unionise becomes more urgent.

Trade Unions, especially for women labour, are critical space to promote and protect women workers’ rights, not just at the workplace but also in the community and at the national, regional and international levels[2].Despite the crucial role unions play in asserting worker’s rights to decent work and its potential in advancing women’s rights, women remain under-represented as members, organisers and leaders in the trade union movement. Although there has been increase in women’s membership[3] in Trade unions, only a small number of women hold leadership positions. This could be due to deeply embedded patriarchal values that ‘attempt at dissuasion against taking on trade union responsibilities’[4], lack of leadership skills or lack of confidence in their own abilities, or even lack of knowledge of how trade unions can help them or largely due to burden of family responsibilities.Recognising the multiple challenges women union leaders face and the importance of trade unions to advance women’s human rights, APWLD organised its first trade union leadership training in 2014 that trained 23 women organizers and leaders.

With the success of its first training, APWLD will hold its 2nd ‘Women Leading, Women Organizing’ training in Manila, Philippines from 14th to 18thNov. It is important to note that the Ministerial Meeting of theAsia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)[5]will be held on18th-19thNov, thus providing the trade union training participants the opportunity to take part in the Civil Society Organisations (CSO) solidarity events during17th to 19thNovember[6], to register our rejection of the further expansion and strengthening of free-trade area deals and oppose the neo-liberal globalisation in the Asia Pacific region.

Training Objectives:

  • To enhance the leadership, voice, influence, capacity of women in trade unions
  • To have discourse on the challenges that women trade unionists, organisers have to contend
  • To promote feminist / gender justice in trade union structures, programs and campaigns
  • To increase capacity of participants to contribute to trade union organisingand collectivismin female intensive industries/labor sectors that are largely non-unionized, amidst the repressive anti-union climate
  • To increase the awareness and capacity of women trade union leaders to advance principles of development justice at national, regional and international levels

Training Methods& Content:

This participatory workshop/training will draw from the experiences and existing knowledge of the participants. It will focus on Trade Unionism in the context of Globalisation, Fundamentalism, Militarism and Feminist Development Justice. The sessions will seek to develop leadership skills; capacities in organising methods; feminist analysis of work; collective bargaining, and in the Decent Work agenda; Development Justice, among others.


  • Women delegates, organisers, trade union leaders (both registered and un-registered, informal unions or associations are eligible)
  • Engagement in or with trade union/s for minimum of 2 years.
  • Able to fully attend the training from 14-18 Nov and CSO solidarity events on 18th Nov and possibly on 19th Nov as well.
  • As the workshop and learning material will be in English, applicants are expected to have at least basic proficiency of English (understanding and speaking capability). Those who are not proficient in English may be considered where another participant can support translation. Trade unions can nominate two participants with one being an English speaker.
  • APWLD members as well as non-members from across Asia Pacific.

Selection will be based on the following considerations:

  •     Role of Applicant in Trade unions, need of the training and motivation to join the training.
  •     Balance in sub-regionalrepresentation (Asia Pacific) and ‘trade union’sector representation
  •     Preference will be given to individuals with recommendations from APWLD network.
  •     The participant group size will be limited to approx. 15 people.

Expectations and obligations of participants:

Pre-training (guidelines and materials will be provided by APWLD):

  •     Collate and submit national information and relevant case studies
  •     Accomplish reading materials,as provided, prior to participating in the training

During training:

  •     Actively participate and share knowledge, expertise and experiences, including making presentations, mock speeches etc.
  •     Develop a personal action plan at the end of the training


    Maintain regular contact with APWLD and colleagues in the training to exchange lessons, experiences, practices and impacts that result from the training.

Cost of the Training and Sponsorship:

APWLD will cover the costs of discounted economy airfare; boarding and lodging during the training and the subsequent one-two days to participate in solidarity events (approx. 5/6days in total), applicable visa fees and airport/travel taxes. Other additional travel related expenses must be informed by the participant to APWLD beforehand for approval.

All applicants MUST submit:

  •     Completed Application Form;
  •     updated Curriculum Vitae (not more than 2 pages long) and
  •     Endorsement/Recommendation letter from the organisation/trade union

The recommending trade union/organisation should certify that the applicant has worked in or aspire to involve in leadership roles and decision making positions within the organisation and is committed to applying the core learning points of the training in her future work.

To apply


DOWNLOAD THE APPLICATION FORM and please email these 3 documents to the attention of: Sunee at; and Nadia at with Subject line as “Application for Women Leading, Women Organising Training”

Application must be lodged no later than 15 September 2015, Tuesday.

INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS (with either of incomplete/missing Application form, CV or Endorsement letter) WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED!!!

Please note that only Selected Applicants will be contacted (within October first week).

Please visit our website in this link for article on previous Trade Union training.

[1]For instance, In Asia alone, the majority of female labour force of 734 million are employed in ‘vulnerable employment’ that are of informal nature, low pay and poorly unionized with highest risks of exploitation and least protections.
[2]ILO, 2001, ‘Promoting Gender Equality: A Resource Kit for Trade Unions’ available in
[3]ITUC 2014 Report
[4]Women in Trade Union: Making the difference in ttps://
[5]APEC is geared to set up greater regional community to facilitate economic liberalization for free trade and investments in the Asia-Pacific region[5] by 2020.
[6]The CSO solidarity events that participants are expected to involve in  are: International Festival for People’s Rights and Struggles/IFPRIS on Nov 17; People’s Campaign against Imperialist Globalization/PCAIG on Nov 18; and People’s Caravan on Nov 19 (TBC)