Women in leadership

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Women are needed in union leadership to strategise, motivate, mobilise and mentor sisters to build strong unions for the next generations.

Question 1

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What challenges are women facing when they achieve union leadership positions?

Question 2

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What more can be done to encourage and support women to step up?

Question 3

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How has your union achieved supporting greater numbers of women into leadership roles?

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Few months back, I made a

Few months back, I made a report about the challenges women are facing when they achieve union leadership positions, base on our situation here in Norway, study shows that there are a significant number of well-educated women in Norway today and many of them have made their way into male-dominated professions. The problem is that many of these women feel torn between working as men do, and giving enough of themselves to the caring role they have outside their jobs. There is little doubt that Norwegian women still retain the bulk of the responsibility for the home and children.

Time studies also show that even in families where both parents work, the woman spends far more time on housework and being with children than the man. A time use study from a few years back shows that the average man uses two and half hours on home-related chores daily, while the average woman uses nearly four and a half hours on such work. Even when she is employed full time outside the home, she uses well over four hours a day on housework. The man, however, is not slumped over a newspaper in his favourite chair while his wife toils -- the time use surveys show that he is at work.


Unions are a pathway for change

Hi Julie, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this (could you post a link to your report?). There's no doubt that women have a double challenge when it comes to leadership positions. First there's making it to the position in the first place. We hear from affiliates that 'proving themselves' to male colleagues is a huge obstacle to overcome. We've got a number of resources, developed with unions using their experiences and ideas, designed to help promote, encourage and support women into union leadership positions. Take a look here: http://www.itfglobal.org/women/Union-Building.cfm

Secondly, feedback from women workers tells us that once in leadership positions, there are often higher expectations on women than men as again, they are expected to prove themselves. Support from their colleagues and other union leaders is the only answer to dealing with the pressures of home life, work life and union responsibilities. 

It would be great to hear more about your report and what you think the next steps are for dealing with these challenges. Unions are a pathway for change which can then filter out into communities and into homes and all aspects of everyday life.

Challenges in Leadership Positions

There is still wide spread belief that a Woman can't do the job as well as a man. Poo to that.
There is always a struggle to prove them selves, their worth and their strengths. We need to be forceful, stand our ground and learn to work in smart and efficient ways.
Gender Equality needs to be challenged and changes have to be made.
Companies and the Communities need to understand that male and Female's can work side by side in challenging roles and grow from each others strengths.
Women juggle Home life, Children, and Work on a daily basis just to follow their dreams and Careers.


Achieving leadership itself

Achieving leadership itself is a challenge for women in male dominated world..

Support for Women

If you have a strong Women that you feel is up to the job. Then help her with training, child care supervision, after school care. If some of the pressures were taken off her shoulders it allows her function well in the job task.

Being kept informed through social media. Phone calls. Emails etc. Social meetings at Café or wine bars where people can relax and feel more comfortable putting there point of view forward.

Encouragement goes a long way when someone is apprehensive about the task. Many hands make light work.


How are you engaging women workers?

Here we've got some key examples of what unions can do to encourage women into their unions, and to be interested and involved and proactive around trade union issues. What methods does your union use to engage women? What do you think unions could be doing more of? What are the barriers to engaging women around union work?

Find out about the ITF women's leadership programme which has run two years in a row, focused on developing women to take on organising and leadership roles: http://www.itfglobal.org/women/Developing-Leadership.cfm