Encouraging More Young Women to be Active in UNISON

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2015 National Women's Conference
15 October 2014

Conference notes that women make up more than two thirds of the union’s membership; however figures show the active involvement of young women is low. At this time of austerity it is crucial we try to encourage more young women to take an active role in our union. The Coalition’s attack on public services have hit women hard, services have been cut and employment opportunities decreased; and there is continued uncertainty for those in employment. Recruitment, retention and encouraging young women into activity must be a key focus for the union.

51% of the population is female but women still remain underrepresented in senior positions – this can be bad for society as women are often excluded from the decision making process. In the Northern Region, women currently hold leadership roles, and provide mentoring and coaching to support other women into activity. Extensive organising work has been done to encourage branches to support women who wish to become active, helping to overcome a wide range of barriers preventing them from doing so.

Young people engaging with other young people is very effective, in the Northern Region a General Fighting Fund post held by a young woman, was focussed on working with young people, and recruited hundreds of new members. In addition to this there is a very active young members group who have run a number of successful campaigns.

In areas such as the private sector and Community & Voluntary Sector, where there are number of young people working, we must have a clear organising strategy to develop new women activists.

We must also highlight the role young women have in the political work that we do, so their views are heard and represented

Encouraging more women into activity must be a priority for the union.

This motion asks the National Women’s Committee to:

1) To work with regions to develop mentoring schemes for young women, to support other young women, to become more active in unison.

2) Work with reps and the women’s group and young members to produce young people friendly publicity to encourage them to become more active in their trade union.

3) To work with other organisations, to co-ordinate activity amongst young people.