Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Oh Brother!

I spent last week's TUC sitting behind fellow blogger Cath Elliot (UNISON's Eastern Regional Convenor) and shall now compound the consequent damage to her reputation in our trade union by blogging a link to her excellent analysis of the gender profile of participants at Congress (http://toomuchtosayformyself.com/2012/09/18/gender-representation-at-tuc-congress-2/).

Congress provides a very obvious contrast to UNISON Conference (which is - like our union - majority female) but, as Cath points out the over representation of men amongst Congress delegates and speakers considerably exceeds the proportion of men in membership.

Of course it's true that what is said is more important than who says it (just as it is true that self-organisation is more important to the struggle against oppression than the worthy objectives of proportionality or fair representation) but the two are not unrelated and a trade union movement which struggles to let women speak will struggle to speak for women.

The first female General Secretary of the TUC will surely soon be followed by the first female General Secretary of the trade union with the largest female membership. Whether women workers notice these changes will no doubt depend primarily on what our unions do in the workplace and society - but, in the mean time, we should keep an eye on the statistics about which Cath has blogged.

Brothers need to make room for sisters.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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