Celebrating working women: UNISON prepares for IWD 2023

The union will celebrate International Women’s Day with an event in Glasgow in March 2023

Graphic representation of five silhouette heads of diverse women

UNISON is organising an International Women’s Day event in Glasgow on 8 March next year to celebrate the contributions of care workers, cleaners, school workers, librarians, and administrators to their workplaces, communities and the union.

General secretary Christina McAnea said: “UNISON will be using the opportunity of International Women’s Day in 2023 to celebrate the vital contributions that women in our union make. Their work is often undervalued, so I’m looking forward to meeting women from across UNISON to thank them for everything they do, day in, day out”.

Guests will be able to attend workshops, including historical walking tours of Glasgow and banner making, before enjoying music and entertainment in the evening. 

Register for the event here

Branches will be asked to pay for travel, accommodation and any childcare or elder care required. Childcare at the event will be provided free of charge.

Cleaning supervisor Lyn-Marie O’Hara, who is part of the team organising the event, has been involved in UNISON for 30 years. After joining as a member on her first day of work at Glasgow City Council, she now sits on the union’s national executive council, representing low-paid women in Scotland. 

Ms O’Hara hopes that the event will encourage more low-paid women to become activists within the union: “I know a lot of women work part-time, and they won’t step up to become a steward or activist because they say ‘I can’t do that on top of everything else’, and we say ‘yes, you can, because you’ll get branch support, training and your hand held if you require it.’”

Ms O’Hara was involved in the historic equal pay campaign in Glasgow, when women working in traditionally female jobs such as catering, cleaning and care, found that they were being paid less than men in jobs such as refuse collection.

More than 8,000 union members – overwhelmingly low-paid women – took successful strike action and won pay increases.

Ms O’Hara is looking forward to the event in March: “I’m incredibly proud to be part of UNISON, and I want all low-paid women in the union to know: if I can do it, you can do it. I’m looking forward to welcoming women to our city, and celebrating what we can do when we all band together.”