As part of wider project to build up women’s organizing capacity within their respective unions, the New Unions concluded a 3-day leadership training at their central office in the West Bank city of Tulkarm on March 19.
Under the slogan “Making Women Visible”, 14 Palestinian women participated in a series of workshop that explored the significance of women’s role in the labor movement and sought to impart practical skills regarding participation in strategic planning, communication, and collective action. Feminist comrades from the Norwegian trade union movement took part in these workshops, sharing experiences and techniques with Palestinian participants over a period of three days.
This series of events is part of a broader strategy to strengthen the leadership role of women within the New Unions, both through an increase in the number of women constituting the rank-and-file as well through providing women the skills and knowledge they need to organize around their collective interests. Female workers in the sectors organized by the New Unions face unique struggles, including forms of social pressure, sexual harassment, and pronounced wage inequality when compared with their male counterparts. These issues are further complicated by the fact that Palestinians are subjected todifferent legal regimes (and thus shifting forms of exploitation), depending on whether they work inside PA-controlled areas, beyond the Green Line, or within Israeli settlements.
In order to meet these challenges, the New Unions seek to provide training, rights-based education, and perhaps most importantly, a space for women to articulate their particular demands within a wider collective struggle for labor justice and national liberation.