Supporting Education for Women

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2014 National Women's Conference
17 October 2013

Conference is proud of Unison’s commitment to lifelong learning and education for all. It is particularly proud of the selection of Unison course which provides women with an opportunity to learn in a safe and supportive environment; allowing women to return to the classroom where this opportunity may not otherwise have been afforded and increasing women’s confidence and self-esteem which can lead to further learning and assist with career progression.

For women who continue with further education, Conference welcomes the bursaries Unison has available to study full-time residential courses in Women’s Studies, Trade Union or Labour Studies at Ruskin or Northern College but for women wishing to gain certificates or diploma’s to increase their understanding or for those wishing to study for a Batchelor’s or Master’s degree, Women’s Studies have been omitted from the bursaries currently available which only apply to learning in the Trade Union or Labour movement.

With more than two thirds of Unison members being women and with women more likely to be low paid and/or part-time workers, in addition to being more disproportionately affected by the austerity cuts, the omission of Women’s Studies from some of the bursaries may provide yet another barrier to the challenges already facing women who may wish to pursue that level of learning; it also indicates less value is seen in relation to Women’s Studies when compared to the Labour movement or Trade Union yet women have played such an important role in both.

Whilst Conference acknowledges Unison’s commitment to women members and education, particularly the education and training targeted specifically at women. Conference would welcome Women’s Studies being aligned with Trade Union and Labour Studies in terms of eligibility for bursaries at all levels, thus demonstrating the recognition that Women’s Studies and the role of women deserves.

Conference calls upon the National Women’s Committee to:

a)Work with the National Executive Committee to review and amend the current policy regarding all bursaries, to include Women’s Studies where bursaries are currently available for Trade Union and Labour Studies

b)Publicise the bursaries to women members to support the existing measures for lifelong learning

South East Region