Encouraging Diversity in Women’s Committee’s

Back to all Motions

2015 National Women's Conference
16 October 2014

In UNISON more than 70% of our total membership are women. UNISON is committed to fair representation and proportionality (Rule D4.1). However, we know in the public sector where many of our members are Black Women we see very few represented at Branch, Regional and National Committee level; despite statistics nationally telling us that Black people are still amongst those most likely to join a union. In furtherance of the Rule Book aims of self-organisation, (D 4.2.1, 4.3.2, 4.3.4) and in line with the union’s aims and objectives; we acknowledge that further specific work can assist and encourage the participation of members who may feel marginalised. A high percentage of Black Women members can be seen working in health, social care and local government, many as low paid members and at a time when UKIP is promoting division in our communities; it is crucial that UNISON continues to lead the way in its view that diversity in our society adds value to us all.

We know from Freedom of Information requests carried out on behalf of North West Region and the wider union; that in many of our Local Authorities Black Women, whilst poorly reflected in number within the workforce (5% rather than 12% statistical expectation) are more likely to be selected for redundancy than their white counterparts. We need to do what we can to give a voice to these women.

A Motion was carried at UNISON National Black Members Conference 2014 which was “Encouraging Black activists”. The motion suggested many ways in which we could do this, for example to look into Black Members’ representation in our SOGs and Branches; support and encourage involvement in other areas of the union in order for them to come together and respond to the disenfranchisement taking place in their workplaces.

In line with the recommendations of that motion, we see it as extremely important that at a Regional and National level we would do what we can to encourage Branches to actively promote the involvement of Women in all their diversity, and with consideration to all the self organised groups, specifically in this case, Black Women.

We ask that the National Women’s Committee works across regions to encourage Branches to do what they can to empower ALL Women, Black, Lesbian Gay Bisexual, Disabled, women from all cultures and religious backgrounds, to become activists stewards and to become involved with their SOGs, and to consider participation in their Branch Committees with the view to becoming active in their regions and the wider union as a whole.

This conference asks that the National Women’s Committee:

1) Conduct a survey of Branches Nationally to establish:

a)- The membership of Black Women within branches

b)- The number of Black Women members involved at branch level

c)- The number of Black women represented within the Women’s self organised groups (where they exist)

2) Work with branches to actively encourage the inclusion of Black women (where appropriate) across the country.

3) Make known the figures as to how many Black delegates attend National Women’s conference in order to document our continuous progress in working toward their greater inclusion.

4) Report progress to the National women’s conference 2016 with a view to continuing the work and publishing final results in the Annual Report of the National Women’s Conference 2017.

5) Include this work in the National Women’s Committee action plan.