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Trade union women's groups and their effects on union goals and strategies

Jane Parker
Human Resource Management Journal, 16, 4, 411 - 431


Although academic work reflects on the roles of women's groups (WG) in British unions, research on their impacts is scant. This study employs survey, interview and documentary evidence to evaluate the meaning of WG effects for progress towards union goals. It draws in particular on specific findings relating to WG – union relations in the public and civil services. While the monitoring of WG effects is limited, taken collectively, the data sources indicate that WGs have helped to advance a range of union aims. Some have also imbued or challenged certain union goals with particular equality approaches and/or have enlarged their union's goal repertoire. WGs adopt conventional and less orthodox strategies in these pursuits. Implications for union and WG relations, theory and research are discussed.