What makes women active in unions?
One of the findings in the recently published survey of trade union Equality Reps was that 63 per cent of the Equality Reps surveyed who had no previous reps experience were women.
If my memory is correct similar findings are (or were) to be found in surveys of Union Learning Reps.
This has me wondering about whether it is the focus of these particular roles that (in somehow being more attractive to women) helps them bring more women into trade union activity, or simply that a new reps role can create a vacancy that a women just wanting to become more active in the union takes advantage of?
I’m pretty certain that women are attracted to many forms of union activity but it may be that for many (and for many reasons) they don’t have the opportunity to take on either what we might call ‘traditional’ reps roles or get involved at any level whatsoever.
If this were true, it poses questions for the trade union movement as to how, via day to day activity in supporting members and campaigning with and for them, we create opprtunities for activity and participation that will give us an activist base that reflects more closely the profile of union members.