To commemorate the Centenary of International Women’s Day in India, the ILO organized a day long event on 8 March 2011 at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai, in collaboration with Tamil Nadu Trade Unions Joint action forum (JAF) consisting of representatives of the six National trade unions (AITUC, BMS, CITU, HMS, INTUC and LPF). Main objective of the event was to i) demonstrate Trade Union joint commitment to the promotion of gender equality and gender mainstreaming, ii) create awareness on women’s issues in particular domestic workers issues in Tamil Nadu and create awareness on promotion of adoption of ILO Convention on domestic workers, iii) present a charter of demands on working women’s issues to the State Government. Over 350 women cadres from the 6 National Trade Unions participated in this event.
Ms. Tine Staermose, , ILO Decent Work Team for South Asia and Country Director for India inaugurated an exhibition, showcasing various issues & challenges of working women, particularly in domestic work and informal sectors,. Participants covering all the 32 districts in Tamil Nadu State showcased their products. A live demo on prominent sectors were set up in the exhibition. Visiting the exhibition stalls, Ms. Staermose interacted with the members and women workers, enquiring about the issues faced by them viz. minimum wages in different sectors, income of the daily wage earners and the challenges they face at different levels.
Ms. Staermose was the chief guest at a public meeting held concurrently on the occasion. Delivering her presidential address, she appreciated the efforts of National Trade Unions in Tamil Nadu in actively addressing women workers issues and for drafting and adopting a joint Trade Union policy on Gender Equality and Gender Mainstreaming. Mr. Ariel B. Castro, Senior Specialist on Workers Activities, who was a special guest at the event, gave a brief overview of the International Women’s Day and its relevance to women workers world over.
A Role Play titled VIDIYALI NOKKI (Dreaming for a New Dawn) highlighting the plight of domestic workers and working women was enacted by the National Trade Union Cadres.