York University project on Leadership, Feminism and Equality in Unions in CanadaWednesday, May 29 2013
This project explores the current climate and attitudes to women, feminism, leadership and equality in Canadian unions through the insights, voices and experiences of women union leaders, activists and staff. Women from seven provinces and territories were involved, including retired and still active staff, leaders and activists, racialized and Aboriginal women, lesbians and young women, and women from public and private sector unions and central labour bodies. Our findings do not address the situation in Québec.
The discussions were wide-ranging, analytical and deeply-moving. What emerged was a widespread consensus that there is a serious problem within the labour movement in advancing women's equality work and supporting feminist activists at all levels. Union women, however, still share the optimistic belief that organized labour has played and can continue to play a critical role in challenging inequality.
Their findings are grouped under six themes:
New and recurring resistance to feminism in the labour movement, or “Waking Up in the Men’s Room”
Impact of the current economic and political climate on equality organizing
Integrating the equality agenda into union structures and culture
Intersection between feminist and equality organizing
Feminist organizing in the union movement
Strategies for moving forward
The Union Equity Audit offers a tool to explore the changing patterns on women's equality issues and leadership inside unions. Many union sisters have filled it out and the Audit is generating some informative and thought-provoking numerical data. We encourage union sisters to fill out a copy. You can fill out and submit on line by clicking here.
You can also use the Audit as an education and organizing tool. Fill it out with a group of union women or in your union women's committee. Report your findings to your union. Please also consider sharing the results with us.
To learn more about the project, and to participate click here or contact firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com