Mental health and equal opportunities in the workplace, the focus of ABWU’s 2024 Women’sConference

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

“Bridging the Gaps; Recognizing Mental Health and Equal Opportunities in the Workplace” is the theme for the Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union (ABWU) 2024 Women’s Conference.

The event will bring together Union members from all sectors of the world of work to share common experiences and discuss issues that impact women.

ABWU Training Officer, Hazel Luke, describes the event as “timely,” noting that the conference is an expansion of the Union’s International Women’s Day Seminar held earlier this year. “Coming out of that seminar, we recognized that our women were eager to amplify their voices on a range of issues that they felt impacted their professional advancement,” Luke explained. “This Conference will allow us to build on, and expand on those priorities that were identified,” she added.

In elaborating on the theme, Luke said that unions, employers and governments needed to work together to develop more people-centered policies that address the mental well-being of workers. Additionally, she noted that the lack of understanding and unsupportive attitudes towards menstruation, maternity and menopause contributed to inequalities between men and women in the world of work.

“Following this conference, we intend to draft a resolution for consideration at the ABWU’s 57th Annual Delegates Conference in September. Once adopted, this will provide the impetus for the Union to tackle these issues on behalf of women,” Luke shared.

The 2024 Women’s Conference will feature presentations on Equal Opportunities, Women in Leadership, Generational Trauma, and Inclusivity of Young Workers. Presenters include Veronica Fernandez Mendez, Head of Equal Opportunities at Uni Global; Dr. Keisha Ross, Clinical Psychologist; Eltonia Rojas, Antigua and Barbuda Labour Commissioner and Dr. Cleon Athill, Social Psychologist.

ABWU General Secretary, Sen. David Massiah, anticipates that the conference will provide a productive and enriching experience for participants. He said women will remain a priority area of focus for the Union.

“We have to remain sensitive to the needs of all our members, but in particular women, because they continue to be disadvantaged by misogynistic attitudes and poor policies that limit their ability to excel in their careers,” Massiah lamented.

“We also hope that this conference will provide a platform for the ABWU Women’s Council to expand its reach and deliver on its mandate to enhance the participation of women in the Trade Union Movement and in the world of work,” Massiah added.

The ABWU’s 2024 Women’s Conference takes place on Wednesday, July 10, at the Union’s Freedom Hall Headquarters.

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