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Women WORKSHOPS (Women to Work for Safety, Health, Organization and Policies)

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The Institute for Occupational Health and Safety for Development (IOHSAD) launched Women WORKSHOPS (Women to Work for Safety, Health, Organization and Policies) last October 22, 2015 at the Asian Social Institute in Manila. Women WORKSHOPS is a series of discussions among women workers, medical professionals, policy makers, labor and occupational health and safety (OHS) advocates aimed to identify, investigate and analyze current issues on women’s right to safe and healthy workplaces. This series of discussions also aims to empower women to confront, resolve health and safety issues at work and improve their working conditions.

During its first meeting, Women WORKSHOPS focused on the reproductive health issues faced by women workers in the electronics sector. Women committee leaders from NXP Semiconductors Workers’ Union and SMT Workers’ Union shared the working conditions and hazards in their respective workplaces.

Dra. Sylvia dela Paz, an obstetrician-gynecologist, women’s rights and health advocate joined the discussion and shared valuable insights and points on how workers can address the various reproductive health issues in the workplace. She stressed the need for further documentation of the identified cases of miscarriages and infertility among women workers. She also recommended an in-depth study of the chemicals used in the workplace and to seek help from experts to determine its effects on workers.

Rep. Emmi de Jesus of Gabriela Women’s Partylist (GWP) shared the recent developments on Worker’s SHIELD (Safety and Health Inspection and Employers’ Liability Decree), the proposed bill filed by GWP to criminalize occupational health and safety standards violations and push for the government’s mandatory inspection of workplaces. She gladly reported the approval of a consolidated bill, which included the major provisions of Worker’s SHIELD by the Committee on Labor and Employment of the House of Representatives last August. She urged the workers to continue their lobbying efforts in Congress and organize more activities to pressure legislators to mark this proposed bill as top priority in the next plenary sessions.