On the final day of the 2nd World Congress in Vancouver,  Sharan Burrow was elected to succeed Guy Ryder  as General Secretary of the ITUC –   the world’s largest international trade union organisation. 

Sharan Burrow will leave her post of President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), that she has held since 2000, to become the first woman at the helm of the ITUC.

“It’s a very proud moment for me, but I hope it will be also a very proud moment for every woman around the globe,” commented Burrow after her election.  

“The ITUC is still facing many challenges in the wake of the global financial crisis.  Although we have seen some exceptional results in a small number of countries including Brazil, Argentina, China and Australia, the recovery in jobs has not been universal. Global unemployment and underemployment continued to rise throughout 2009 and during the first half of this year” Burrow added.

The election of the first female General Secretary of the ITUC is historically significant for the global trade union movement and occurs at a time of high participation for women at the ITUC Congress with 50 % of delegate’s seats being held by women.