Presentation on theme: "Overcoming Barriers to Women in Organizing and Leadership Report to the AFL-CIO Executive Council March 2004."— Presentation transcript:
Overcoming Barriers to Women in Organizing and Leadership Report to the AFL-CIO Executive Council March 2004
Where Are We Now? Study commissioned by EC Working Women’s Committee in August 2002 Are we taking advantage of the opportunity to organize women? Are we making enough progress with women leaders?
Women’s Participation in the Workforce and in Unions is Growing Women make up nearly half the workforce. 43% of union members, 55% of newly organized workers. Between 1990 and 2000, women union members grew by half a million. Increase greatest among African American women.
We Win More Union Elections with Women Workers and Women Organizers 62% wins women majority 35% wins women minority 82% wins 75% or more women of color 55% wins women organizers 42% wins male organizers 89% wins majority women of color and woman of color as lead or staff organizer Source: 2003 study by Kate Bronfenbrenner.
Are We Taking Advantage of the Opportunity to Organize Women?
Perceptions of Unions Unions fight for members, provide job security and help secure raises. There is corruption in unions.
Perceptions of Unions Equal pay, work & family issues and control over work hours are strongest reasons for joining a union.
Perceptions of Unions Women want proof the union can deliver on promises.
Perceptions of Unions Self-reliance and individualism resonate among working women.
Perceptions of Unions Unions are mainly for men. Don’t believe that unions have white collar members.
Recommendations: Focus on Issues of Priority to Working Women Equal pay, control over work hours and work & family issues like paid family leave and child care. Highlight work and family issues in bargaining fights. Actions about people, not about power and influence.
Recommendations: Show Women Have a Place in Unions
Use “unions” or the “union movement,” not “labor.” Appoint, recruit and elect more women to leadership positions at all levels. Recruit and retain more women organizers.
Recommendations: Address Fears and Doubts about Unions Use examples of worker strength. Unions back up women without reducing their independence. About workers, not institutions.
Are We Making Enough Progress with Women Leaders?
Barriers Inhibiting Women from Entering Leadership Positions Commitment from unions Work and family programs Women’s structures and programs Mentoring
Recommendations: Commitment from Unions and Top Leaders Establish mandates and policies. Ensure women participate in all union events. Appoint women to positions with core responsibilities, not as tokens. Expand union executive boards to include more women.
Recommendations: Develop Work & Family Programs and Policies Child care at union events. Hold meetings at times when women can attend. Develop family-friendly policies for women leaders. Make structural changes.
Recommendations: Develop Structures & Programs for Women Create women’s departments and committees. Build women’s priority issues into organizing, politics and bargaining. Hold smaller, advanced leadership trainings for women.
Recommendations: Help Women Rise as Leaders Identify women and “bring them along” by providing mentoring and individual leadership development at all levels.
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