“Without respect, there is no dignity at work, and, without dignity, there is no social justice.” - MANUELA TOMEI, Director of the ILO’s Conditions of Work and Equality Department,

Respect begets respect. For a person to receive due recognition and respect, he or she has to give it first. This is an unwritten rule that everyone in a decent, modernized world is following without being told. While it is true that rules and laws shall be written in realizing order in the society, respect takes deeper and wider perspective for the observance. Needless to say, absence of it shall render a society ineffective and meaningless. To put it as a gender-based issue, no functional society will survive without respecting the rights and the dignity of every WOMAN.

Among ASEAN countries, only now that most of the countries give due credit to the contributions of women to national development and global growth. Women in the region have been proactive asserters of their inherent human rights which were neglected by their partners, worse, by the community where they belong and by the government whom they subscribe obedience. Knowing that the power lies in their hands, empowered women take control of their life and professional journeys not only as members of the society but also as their leaders. Women of the world too united even in the international policy making bodies. They did active roles during plenary sessions and debate. Whenever and wherever issues affecting them exist, they are there to educate, enlighten, and empower. It is no doubt that the same is true during the 100th Centenary of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) this 2019. Respect is earned by women. In the words of Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General, “The next step is to put these protections into practice, so that we create a better, safer, decent, working environment for women and men.”

Just this year, the Violence and Harassment Convention  and Violence and Harassment Recommendation, were adopted by delegates on the final day of the Centenary International Labour Conference, in Geneva (Switzerland). For the Convention, 439 votes were cast in favour, seven against, with 30 abstentions. The Recommendation was passed with 397 votes in favour, 12 votes against and 44 abstentions. This only manifests that the world has seen all forms of violence and harassment against persons, especially to the vulnerable members of the society like women and their children, and that the world itself has to put an end to it.

In the upcoming 8th Education International World Congress on 19–26 July 2019 (Bangkok, Thailand), carrying theme “Educators and Their Unions Taking the Lead”, is but fitting to this age when teachers and their respective unions taking front lines to the promotion of the culture of respect, dignity, and social justice. Women union leaders will once again unite and take part to improve the working conditions of teachers and learning environment of our students. This is not only our duty but our commitment as women of the world. This is a guarantee.