Held under the slogan #ThisIsOurWorldToo, the women’s conference was an exceptionally vibrant event. Women’s committee chair Diana Holland opened the conference with contributions from general secretary Stephen Cotton and our Singaporean host Mary Liew.
Diana introduced the women’s committee work programme for the coming years – to end gender-based violence and occupational segregation in the transport industry – alongside a video message from Dr Tessa Wright of Queen Mary University, London. In a live poll, 46% of delegates felt the most common impact of new technology on women transport workers is lost jobs, while 20% thought this leads to better jobs. Alma Teresa of Mexico then launched the new ITF women’s report on women and the future of work, followed by interventions from nine women about outcomes achieved and future action around the world.
Among many incisive contributions from the floor, the highlight was a speech by Nermin al-Sharif. Barred by the authorities from leaving Libya to attend an ITF women’s event in Moroccco last year, a massive outcry from the ITF family led to her passport being returned and her appearance at Congress. Nermin urged delegates to not be limited to the ITF women’s committee but to demand gender integration across the ITF.
After a social media action using the #ThisIsOurWorldToo hashtag, Stephen presented a posthumous gold award to the stalwart ITF woman Ann Anderson of Guyana, who sadly died earlier this year.
Geetha Shresthabhattarai of Nepal introduced the Congress motion on organising informal transport workers, a disproportionate number of whom are women. The motion was endorsed to loud applause and will be returned to plenary tomorrow.
Finally, the new women’s committee was elected and appointed their leadership. Diana Holland will continue as chair, with Kalthoum Barkallah of Tunisia, Wilma Clement of Barbados and Mich-Elle Myers of Australia serving as vice-chairs.