If it is women who care, it is women who must lead the response to crises

PSI Inter-America's Regional Women's Committee met in Lima on Tuesday, October 18, to discuss issues such as leadership in rebuilding the social organization of care in the post-pandemic world

At the opening of the meeting of the IAMWOC - Inter-America Regional Women's Committee, Rosa Pavanelli, General Secretary of Public Services International - PSI, gave an analysis of women's rights, particularly for public service workers, after the Covid-19 pandemic that disproportionately affected women, who are the majority of workers in care professions. "We have seen that after a health crisis, the response of international institutions and many governments has not been to increase investments in public services that could encourage greater gender parity in society, on the contrary," she said.

"women must be involved in the construction of a different response

In the face of the economic, pandemic, climate and care crises, it is possible to say that women are the most affected. The failure of the neoliberal model, in crisis all over the world, increases investments in militarization and for this reason, explains Rosa, "women must be involved in the construction of a different response, because we are the ones who take care of people and the world, the solution is not war and militarization".

The General Survey of the International Labor Organization - ILO on care at work was presented at the meeting. Maribel Bastista, from the Bureau for Workers' Activities (ACTRAV), who presented the Survey, demonstrated the contradictory reality of care as a universal public right and of the ILO conventions and recommendations on the protection of maternity and workers with family responsibilities. Of the 185 countries analyzed by the General Survey, only 81 countries offer mandatory coverage in terms of monetary maternity leave benefits for them, for example.

Mariluz Martín, from the Movement for the Right to Health "María Rivarola" made a presentation on gender transformative public service, in the context of the demand for women's sexual and reproductive rights in the region. Mariluz made cleat the role played by public services in guaranteeing the universal right to quality health to more than half of the world's population.

The campaign for the ratification and implementation of ILO Convention 190 to eradicate violence in the world of work was discussed by the committee. Participants reported that in the last year Mexico, Peru, El Salvador, Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda have ratified the convention. "This very progressive and comprehensive convention is a tremendous triumph achieved by trade union women and in particular PSI. In order to put its principles into practice, it is essential to continue fighting for its ratification in all countries and for its principles to be incorporated into the structures of our own organizations, as well as in our collective bargaining," said Carolina Espinoza, co-chair of IAMWOC. Chile and Panama are in the process of approval and ratification.

Committee Resolutions

Jillian Bartlett, co-chair of the IAMWOC, highlighted the resolutions of the meeting which included a commitment to "strengthen the work of reconstructing the social organization of care, reinforcing the shift from the dominant concept of 'care economy' to 'social organization of care', putting into practice each of the 5Rs of our Manifesto, as well as promoting concrete actions of lobbying and advocacy in the construction of public care systems in the region at the national and local government level". In addition to continuing the broad campaign for the ratification and implementation of C190, the committee identified the following priority countries: Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Colombia, Brazil and Jamaica.

The WOC supported the Constitutional Reform Working Group's proposals and reinforced the commitment to strengthening gender mainstreaming in the region's political agenda. "The Committee took important steps for the gender justice agenda today including the decision to put care at the center of the world of work, to continue the concrete advance of experiences of reconstruction of the social organization of care, while affirming its political will to combat violence and harassment, and to have initiated an in-depth discussion on sexual and reproductive rights as a challenge towards having quality public services that transform unequal gender relations," said Verónica Montúfar, responsible for Equality in PSI.