Posted on March 13, 2020

Women leaders of migrant communities from seven countries took part in the first-ever International Women’s Day celebration organized recently by the Women Committee of Bayanihan ng Manggagawa sa Konstruksyon ng Qatar (BMKQ) and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) in Doha.

BMKQ is an association of Filipino migrant workers in the construction sector of Qatar, while BWI is global union federation in the building, building materials, wood, forestry and allied sectors.

Dubbed as “Women (Only) Night Out”, the event witnessed the participation of women leaders representing mainly the construction sector, domestic work and hospitality sector. They were from African, Southeast Asian and South Asian countries. The participants shared experiences on the issue of women participation and leadership in building communities of migrants. “Today, women members in our organization continue to increase. But I must tell you sisters; this is a result of resolute action. Women will never be a part of the table unless we organize ourselves.

In most cases, as some would tell, women must create our own table. We are mainly on the side-line, not having the power to be a part of decision-making,” said Mags Laja, Chairperson of BMKQ Women Committee. Laja urged the participants to continue conversations on Convention 190 to deepen understanding of this international instrument as a tool to eliminate harassment and violence in the workplace. “Let us continue cooperating with the government of Qatar with the end in view of getting this convention translated into concrete policies and programs,” she added.

She also urged them to help in the development and implementation of training programs for women leaders. “We are envisioning a training program that will result to more active participation of women in migrant community organizations, more women leaders getting elected into office and the institution of internal policies within our own organizations against gender discrimination and violence,” she said. Through a phone patch, Jin Sook Lee, the Global Campaigns Director of BWI, conveyed her message of solidarity to the women leaders in attendance. She shared a few points on the work of BWI in Qatar and the initiative to galvanize the solidarity of women migrant workers in the construction and other sectors.

source: The Peninsula