Building Power: Women's Leadership in the Fight for Justice, Democracy, and...

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The Murphy Institute

25 W 43rd St

18th Floor

New York, NY 10036

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Open Society Foundations, the Ford Foundation, the Freedom Fund, Fundación Avina, C&A Foundation, Humanity United and AFL-CIO, Solidarity Center, and Global Labor Justice invite you to join us for a discussion on Tuesday, September 24, 2019 from 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm entitled:

Building Power: Women's Leadership in the Fight for Justice, Democracy, and Fair Work

Major trends and disruptions are altering the world around us. Threats to human rights and labor rights defenders, closing civic space, automation’s impact on the future of work, and the underlying conditions leading to the #MeToo movement are real challenges to ensuring a fair global economy that works for everyone. However, against these threats there are significant efforts underway to build power, set standards, and ultimately to ensure economic and social justice in communities across the world.

At the frontlines of this fight are incredible women who are paving the way for reforms in law, policy, and practice. These leaders understand that to truly course correct we need to build power and work in collaboration. This event will both celebrate their achievements and reflect on what's worked—and what needs more support—in the fight for justice, democracy, and fair work for all.


  • Sharan Burrow is the General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation and a former president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. She is the first woman to become General Secretary of the ITUC since its foundation in 2006, and was the second woman to become president of the ACTU.

  • Anannya Bhattacharjee is the International Coordinator of Asia Floor Wage Alliance, a global supply chain campaign for living wages and a violence-free workplace for garment workers in Asia who are mostly women and who produce most of the world’s clothing. She is one of the few women trade unionists in India and has helped build grassroots labor-related collaboration between North America, Europe and Asia for well over a decade.

  • Patrick Gaspard is president of the Open Society Foundations, the world’s largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights. Gaspard has had a dynamic career at the intersection of government, political campaigns, and social justice movements. Previously, Gaspard held several positions within the Obama Administration, including serving as the U.S. ambassador to South Africa. Beginning his career as a union organizer in New York City, Gaspard was the executive vice president and political director for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 1199, and political director for the national SEIU. He also served as a senior aide to former New York City mayor David Dinkins.

  • Libakiso Matlho is the National Director for Women and Law South Africa (WLSA). She is an advocate, a former lecturer at National University of Lesotho and a renowned human rights and women's rights scholar and gender activist.

  • Maricarmen Molina is the General Secretary of the Confederación Sindical de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras de El Salvador - CSTS, one of the largest trade union confederations in El Salvador.

  • Rose Auma Omamo is the General Secretary of Amalgamated Union of Kenya Metal Workers, an industry that is 90% Male and 10% female, and the National Chair and executive Board Member of the Central Organization of Trade Unions-Kenya (COTU-K) Women’s Committee representing women nationally and internationally. She is also an elected member of Organization of African Trade Union Unity in charge of information, and a member of ITUC Africa Women’s Committee.

  • Liz Shuler is an American labor activist and, since 2009, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO. She is the first woman and the youngest person to hold the position of Secretary-Treasurer and is the highest-ranking woman in the labor federation's history.

Date: September 24, 2019

Time: 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Location: Murphy Institute (CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies), 25 West 43rd Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10036

*Please note this event is at capacity, including overflow room. Please arrive on time. This event will also be livestreamed and can be viewed on Youtube or on Facebook.


2:30- 3:00 PM: Registration

3:00- 3:20 PM: Opening Remarks

  • Gregory Mantsios, Dean of the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies

  • Laine Romero-Alston, Team Manager, Fair Work Program/International Migration Initiative, Open Society Foundations

  • Cathy Feingold, International Director, AFL-CIO and Deputy President, ITUC

3:20- 4:00 PM: Discussion I

Women Leading a Global Movement for Economic Justice, Democracy, Fair Work

  • Moderator: Patrick Gaspard, President, Open Society Foundation

  • Sharan Burrow, Secretary General, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

  • Rose Auma Omamo, General Secretary of Amalgamated Union of Kenya Metal Workers (Kenya)

  • Liz Shuler, Secretary Treasurer, AFL CIO (United States)

4:00- 4:45 PM: Discussion II

Women Leading from the Frontlines of the Global Economy

  • Moderator: Shawna Bader-Blau, Executive Director, Solidarity Center

  • Anannya Bhattacharjee, International Coordinator, Asia Floor Wage Alliance (India)

  • Libakiso Matlho, National Director, Women and Law South Africa (Lesotho)

  • Maricarmen Molina, General Secretary, Confederación Sindical de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras de El Salvador (El Salvador)

4:45 PM – 5:00 PM: Concluding Reflections

  • Amol Mehra, Managing Director, Freedom Fund

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The Murphy Institute

25 W 43rd St

18th Floor

New York, NY 10036

View Map

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