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Lesbian,Gay,Bisexual & Transgender Conference 2005
29 July 2005
Carried as Amended

Conference, in its awareness of UNISON’s rules on proportionality and fair representation, expresses its dismay and frustration at the continuing under-representation of women in this Self-Organised Group (SOG).

Conference therefore welcomes the revised guidance that, where a branch sends two or more delegates, the proportion of women and men in the delegation must reflect their proportion in the branch. But conference notes this change will have an effect only in the tiny number of branch delegations of four or more.

Whether Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender; Black or Disabled; low-paid and/or part-time, women are not present in our SOG’s most important policy-making forum in anything like the numbers as would be in proportion to the relevant number of female and male members comprising the electorate. Conference deeply deplores this situation.

Conference understands that proportionality might be achieved by turning away men who wish to be delegates. However Conference wishes to emphasise that every member of the LGBT SOG has the responsibility to encourage proportionality and fair representation. Conference believes that if this responsibility were acted upon by women and men members at every level of UNISON then the difficulties of regional facilitating officers in assisting branches across their region to achieve proportionality might not result in men being unable to be delegates.

Conference is also aware that it is disproportionately women members who are in low paid or part time work and Conference is of the view that when women are delegates in proportionate numbers the issue of fair representation will also begin to be resolved.

Conference therefore instructs the National LGBT Committee to work closely with the Regional Co-convenors and the relevant regional facilitators and office staff to ensure that UNISON’s rules in regard to proportionality and fair representation are respected and that, at the time of delegate registration for our LGBT Conference each year, branches get the proper assistance that enables these rules to be faithfully observed.

Conference also instructs the National LGBT Committee to monitor attendance at conference and, where a branch sends a sole male delegate to two or more conferences running, offer it help to find prospective women delegates.

Conference notes that increasing a delegation from one to two members will always create a women’s place and increasing it to three or to four will nearly always do so. Conference therefore urges delegates and branch groups to encourage their branches to send more delegates to this conference.