Why do women join unions?
Carried 9 November 2021
Submitted by Amanda Cunningham
Amanda to report back with costing
Thanks to Freedom of Information requests co-ordinated from this branch, we know that women make up around 75% of local authority work forces in Scotland. However this is not even close to being reflected in the current branch membership. While we do not know the composition of members in other sister unions within City of Edinburgh council, it is likely to be a similar picture.
Research from across western democracies suggesting women, as well as minority groups, are less likely to join a union than their male work place counterparts. There is not an extensive amount of research on women’s trade unionism, the aim of the proposed research would be to bring together a synopsis of the existing data on barriers to women’s participation and independent research with women branch members to find out why they did join a union.
I propose that a short survey is developed finding out when and why women reps and members joined and if they are active within the branch and why (the survey will be anonymous), however there will be an option to provide contact details. The aim is to create focus groups of around 4 – 5 people, both virtual and physical (dependent on Covid). The focus groups will discuss their social attitude towards trade unionism before joining, reasons for joining a trade union, the barriers that prevented them from joining / being more active.
The branch is asked to fund the time to lead and develop this research, expected to run between January and June 2022 at around 10 full day releases to facilitate.
The aim is to increase women’s membership and raise the profile of Unite CEC branch within the workplace, thereby reducing the current gender disparity. To raise the profile of the project I would like to request permission to cost venue hire to show Made in Dagenham for International Women’s Day 2022 and arrange a suitable speaker from the trade union movement to speak at the event. Also we will explore the option of making this a hybrid event to expand inclusiveness, if the costs are agreed by the branch.
This motion calls upon the branch to fund time for a lead to coordinate research, gather data and present findings at the 2022 Branch AGM on the subject: ‘Why do women join unions?’, including the funding a promotional event (cost dependent).