A delegation of five Unifor women were honoured to represent Unifor as delegates of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) in New York City from March 6 to 10.
“The UNCSW was an incredible experience for our delegation and an honour to represent Unifor to bring our perspective as working women from Canada,” said Tracey Ramsey, Unifor Women’s Department Director. “We had the opportunity to attend many sessions filled with important conversations about our lives as trade union women in the digital world we all live in. With this year’s theme of DigitAll we focused on the impact of technology and innovation on the lives of women and girls globally”
Women from all countries
The events through the week had speakers from around the globe offering a variety of perspectives and viewpoints. But it also offered the Unifor delegates opportunities to connect with other activists and leaders from across Canada.
“Jennifer Murray and I had the opportunity to talk to the Minister of Women and Gender Equality, Marci Ien, at a Canadian delegation reception at the Canadian Embassy to the UN with Ambassador Bob Rae,” said Ramsey. “We shared the importance of Unifor women being there and she thanked us for the work we are doing.”
The delegation attended the official UN International Women’s Day (IWD) ceremony in the UN General Assembly chambers surrounded by women from around the world.
“We are bringing back a renewed energy to the importance of understanding the impact of technology and innovation in our workplaces with a challenge to ensure more women and girls enter into STEM pathways,” said Jennifer Murray, Unifor Atlantic Regional Director. “We need women’s voices in rooms where apps, platforms and algorithms are being built to remove gender bias and create a gender equal digital space.”
Technology and its impact on women
As reflected in the Unifor statement for International Women’s Day, it is increasingly important to recognize how harassment can and does extend from digital spaces into women’s personal and working lives.
“We discussed how harassment has moved from the physical to the online world back to the physical and often ends up in increased risk of gender-based violence,” said Ramsey. “Harassment is allowed to flourish online unchecked by web giants and poorly addressed by insufficient understanding of governments to create legislation that will remove the harms.”
In addition to Ramsey and Murray, delegates included BC Regional Council Chair Leanne Marsh, Local 2488 President Andrea Lawrence, and Representative from Unifor Quebec’s Comite d’action feministe Nathalie Lapointe. Listen to them each offer their reflections on the experience on the Unifor Instagram account.