Women & Gender

Women Participation

The NUTGTWN has been at the forefront in promoting active women’s participation in trade union activities. To include women in its decision making bodies, the union at its 2000 Delegates’ Conference agreed that affirmative action be put in place whereby elective positions were reserved for women at national and branch levels. At the national level, a post of National Trustee while that of an Executive member is reserved for women members at the branch level.

Though the affirmative action covers the position of Executive member, women have contested and won other positions. For instance a female member is Chairperson of one of the vibrant Branches in Lagos; another woman is a Zonal Treasurer besides the sixty women active in Branch Executive Committees.

Strategies for building a crop of women trade union leaders

As part of the union’s strategy to further build a crop of women trade union leaders, at the union’s 2004 Delegates Conference, two women emerged as the first set of elected female national officers of the union. Their emergence was preceded by the constitutional amendments that took place at the 2000 Delegates Conference of the union in Benin City which allowed for the creation of Zonal and National Women Committees of the union to oversee the activities of women at those levels. The two women are Comrades Chichi Emeogo, 2nd Deputy President and Hauwa Ambi, National Trustee (a post reserved for women as part of affirmative action).

Internal Democracy

In order for the committee to be effective and closely linked to the decision making structures of the union, the 2004 constitutional amendment authorized that the National Women Committee chairperson is an automatic member of the union’s decision making organs, i.e. Central Working Committee (CWC) National Executive Council (NEC) and Delegates’ Conference. At the Delegates’ Conference which is the highest decision making organ of the union, the Chairpersons and Secretaries of the Zonal Women Committees are allowed to attend the conference as observers by virtue of affirmative action.

With the constitutional amendment and composition of the women committee, women issues are now better articulated at meetings of the various organs of the union and their views are taken into account in the decision making processes. The committee provided a forum for women’s issues to be discussed at all levels of the union structure.

The union also ensures that women meet to deliberate on issues affecting them at work. They have also been very active in branch elections and have also contested and won elective posts.

Modalities for strengthening and empowering women

As part of the modalities for strengthening and empowering women, the union has embarked on training and retraining of its female members to ensure that they have a voice at work. Series of training programmes have been held to build the capacity of this category of members. Some of the training programmes include:

  • Women Leadership Skill Development, Ilorin August 2004
  • Women, Politics and National Development, Jos, May 2005
  • Capacity Building for Women Activists, Ilorin, May 2006

International Women’s Day

In commemoration of the International Women’s Day (IWD), the union organises annual events around the global theme. The activities include rallies, campaigns, symposiums and training activities among others. The focus of the events includes:

  • To raise awareness on the significance of IWD
  • To provide forum for women to reflect on issues that affect them
  • To sensitize women on their role as advocates for change in society
  • To promote networking among women Trade Union activists and other Civil Society groups for better co-ordination of gender struggle
  • To encourage women trade unionists to recognize the IWD as an occasion for reviewing, restating, and acting on the political, economic and social rights of women.

Challenges

The union is witnessing some tough times with the continued collapse of the industry, redundancies and the attendant loss of members. The unending crisis in the industry had been further accelerated by policy inconsistency, half hearted commitment to policy implementation, smuggling, high interest rate, high rate of exchange, high cost and scarcity of black oil. Smuggling remains a big challenge largely ineffectively addressed by the government notwithstanding the many seizures and open burning of seized textile materials. The market is still flooded with imported textile materials. A recent survey showed that local textile has a market share of about 20 per cent, with the balance of 80 per cent being controlled by assorted imported fabrics.

The implication of the above on women’s participation is that women membership of the union continues to shrink despite their very few numbers in the union. As a result of this, the union lose experienced women that it has invested a lot building their capacity.

Last Election of members of the NUTGTWN Women Committee took place at the Adams Oshiomhole Hall, Textile Labour House, Ikeja Lagos on the 24th April 2009 and the newly elected officers that emerged are as follows:

NO. NAME BRANCH POST ZONE
1. Latifat Okanlawon Nanita Chairperson Isolo/Igalu
2. Binta Alhassan ATM, Kano Dep. Chairperson Kano
3. Rita Aremu Sunflag Vice Chairperson Kaduna Area
4. Pat Ngbuwachi GCM, Onitsha Ex-Officio Kaduna Area Council
5. Saidat Oshodi Tailor’s Association Ex-Officio Lagos
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