After going dormant since 1996, the Women’s Council of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union (ABWU) is set to make an impressive comeback at the Union’s 54th delegates conference in September.
The revived council will rebrand as the Antigua & Barbuda Workers’ Union Women’s Improvement Network or ABWUWIN.
The ABWU’s first Women’s Council was formed in 1972 with the aim of improving women’s participation and contribution to the workforce and in the Union. Under the leadership of stalwarts such as Edris Knight, Ernie Dyer, Bessie John, Lila Simon and several others, the council organized classes in typing, shorthand, dress-making, food preparation and accounting. During those years, the Women’s Council also provided financial support for the Union from its regular fund raising activities.
While times have changed and women’s circumstances have largely improved, the Union remains committed to providing even greater opportunities for women to contribute to the improvement of workers’ lives. As such, the re-established Women’s Council – ABWUWIN – will seek to provide a space for diverse representation and inclusive participation of skills, while creating opportunities for sharing experiences, training and mentoring.
The re-envisioned Women’s Council is the brainchild of ABWU’s training and education officer Hazel Luke. She recalls that the idea came to her in an “epiphany moment” during her travels to a regional union event.
“It was a delight to present an outline of what I envisioned to our General Secretary. With his full support, I am now tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that this body is re-established. ABWUWIN will be a progressive and proactive women’s council that pursues networking opportunities with similar bodies around the globe, to build capacity in our women and provide opportunities for greater participation and influence in society,” Luke explained.
According to ABWU General Secretary, David Massiah, women have always been a fundamental pillar in the local Labour Movement. “Apart from their supportive roles, women have made invaluable contributions through their involvement at the executive level of the Union,” Massiah noted.
Female members of the ABWU who wish to get involved in the Women’s Council are invited to register on or before August 9, 2022 by contacting Senior Industrial Relations and Training Officer, Hazel Luke at 462-2005. A commencement meeting will take place on August 16, 2022 at the ABWU Freedom Hall Headquarters.