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2022 Virtual National Women's Conference
15 October 2021
Carried as Amended

Our Women Members are our greatest asset

Conference welcomes the election of Christina McAnea as the first woman General Secretary of a major trade union. Representing more than a million women working across the range of public services, UNISON with its commitment to lay democracy and proportionality and fair representation enshrined within our rule book are in a unique position to ensure that women’s voices and experiences are heard at all levels of government as representatives, negotiators, and leaders.

The pandemic has clearly demonstrated the roles that women have had in the workplace. Whilst some were able to work from home, the jobs of others meant that these women had to go into workplaces, into schools, into people’s homes and were reliant on UNISON to ensure that they were safe, protected and appropriately rewarded. It became very clear that the experiences of women workers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were very different to those of England as restrictions differed in the four countries. Additionally, the experiences of Black women, disabled women, LBGT+ women, young women and older women became more distinct as the impact of the pandemic illustrated the risks and dangers that women experience.

Conference believes that it remains vitally important that UNISON continues to reflect the diversity of its membership both within our internal structures and externally with our relationships with the TUC, STUC, WTUC and ICTU, the Labour Party and our international trade union partners.

Conference is deeply saddened by the actions of the NEC to fundamentally change the lay representatives on the TUC General Council so there are no longer any Black women on the UNISON delegation or the voices of anyone who does not live or work in England.

There is a piece of work to be done to ensure that women are supported and empowered to challenge and change our union.

Conference therefore calls on the National Women’s Committee to work with regions and the other self-organised groups to

1)Work towards developing a programme which will support and mentor women activists into leadership roles in branches and regions.

2. Work towards recognising that the different experiences of women in all 4 countries of the UK need to be reflected in all work plans at a UK level. However, sometimes there is the need for a specific piece of work which is only applicable in one country in which case it should be clearly highlighted which of the countries this applies to.