Pro women pro choice

Conference welcomes UNISON’s policy on the ‘Right to Chose’. Pregnant women have the right to obtain treatment and advice in confidence free from harassment and intimidation. Conference is concerned about the increase in groups such as “Abort 67” in recent years that target abortion clinics with the intention to harass and intimidate women, who are […]


Conference notes that many women workers do not wish to dress in accordance with gendered stereotypes of what is ‘appropriate women’s dress’. Yet some employers continue to have dress codes with a number of gender-specific requirements. Conference believes that arguments that some forms of gender expression are unprofessional, or societal norms dictate that certain items […]


Conference notes that we are facing ever harsher attacks on our pay, terms and conditions, benefits and living standards. We are expected to do more for less, covering unfilled and deleted posts, while services we rely on disappear and housing costs spiral. As always, women bear the brunt of it. Under the Tory government, our […]

Creating an Agenda on Equality and Human Rights

The 2015 UNISON NDC carried motion 85 (submitted by the NI region) on resetting the equality agenda. It is our firm belief that equality and human rights are inherently interlinked. Women’s rights are disproportionately affected by discrimination on all grounds. Consequently, women’s rights and women’s protection from discrimination should be an overarching priority in the […]

Women’s rights are human rights

Women’s Rights Are Human Rights Conference, the recent decision by Amnesty International to work towards full decriminalisation of the sex trade has disappointed women’s groups across the world. As the world’s most prominent human rights organisation we would not expect Amnesty International to prioritise the rights of pimps and punters over the rights of women, […]

Black women and cervical cancer

Cervical cancer remains the most common cancer in women under the age of 35 and yet cervical cancer screening can prevent up to 80% of cases of the disease. • Up to 3000 women are diagnosed per year • Up to 1000 women die per year despite screening • Biggest risk: non-attendance of screening programme […]

Women’s Voice in Local Politics

Women are under-represented in politics. The lack of women in Westminster is increasingly reported but the lack of women in local government is very often overlooked. According to the Fawcett Society women make up only 32% of local councillors in England and 24% in Northern Ireland. Only 12.3% of local authority leaders in England are […]

Maternity Discrimination

This conference notes That key research published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission in July 2015, Pregnancy and Maternity Related Discrimination and Disadvantage highlighted ongoing problems for pregnant women in the workplace, for example it discovered of the women surveyed: • One in 9 mothers were dismissed or made compulsorily redundant whilst others were […]

Women’s access to justice

Conference notes with concern the impact that successive government policies are having on women’s access to justice. For those women experiencing domestic violence, access to justice means: • receiving a timely, safe and understanding response to domestic violence from the police; • ensuring that civil remedies, such as injunctions, are used appropriately and are offered […]


Conference will be aware that the changes to legal aid introduced in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, which requires women to provide evidence of their domestic abuse through providing evidence of domestic violence in the previous two years. Evidence can consist of a conviction, police caution, protective injunction, letter from […]

Now justice is only for those who can afford it

The British judicial system was based on the bedrock that justice must not only be done, but be seen to be done as well. It should not be a system where justice should be done only to those who are rich enough to afford it. But in the UK the Government‘s austerity measures are adversely […]

Impact of Austerity on UNISON Women

UNISON is a union of over 1 million women members. Due to the government’s austerity measures over the last 5 years many of these will have seen their standard of living fall and many will be living in poverty. Researchers show that by moving from a minimum wage to a living wage 4.8 million women […]

The cuts are killing us

From the rise in domestic violence, to increased homelessness, benefit sanctions which have driven people with long term conditions into desperation and disabled women labelled as scroungers and vulnerable on the streets and in their homes – Austerity is a killing machine. Job losses and increased poverty leads to violent reactions that impact women and […]


Conference notes with growing concern the funding crisis within services that support women who have experienced rape and sexual violence. In August 2015 it was reported that nationally none of the 46 Rape crisis organisations in England and Wales had secure funding beyond March 2016 despite a 50% increase in the number of survivors receiving […]

Protect Our Employment

Conference recognises that the move by many employers to limiting the use of flexible working arrangements and/ or the introduction of long shifts disproportionately affects women, yet the equality act gives us limited support in tackling these issues, and equality impact assessments are often tick box exercises rather than an effective measure of the issues. […]