Conference 2017 sees the launch of two major reports on diversity and equal opportunities. Both reports follow on from a survey of members undertaken last year.
Women comprise just under 62% of our membership but this is not reflected in our representative structures:
- At Branch Committee level just 47% of our Committees are women.
- At Branch Officer level just 52% of our Branch Officers are women.
- Only 47% of the delegates to Annual Delegate Conference are women.
- Just 40% of the Union's Executive Committee are women.
- Just over a third of the delegates we send to the ICTU Conference are women.
- At Head Office all of our Administrative staff are women and all of our full time officials are men!
The only people who can change these levels of representation are ourselves. We cannot blame any employer for the fact that, in our representative structures, at every level, women are underrepresented.
Our study identifies a number of specific issues on which action can be taken to address barriers to full participation in our structures by all members. Our challenge now will be to seek to address those issues and our report recommends how best we might do that.
We have a number of signposts as to the route we can choose to travel. Whatever we choose, we have a lot of ground to make up. The full report can be accessed here.
In our survey of members on participation in Union affairs, we included specific questions asking about areas involving equality/diversity in which respondents would like the PSEU to be more involved.
Sometimes we may tend to see equal opportunities, in so far as they form part of our agenda, as being exclusively related to the workplace. However, the efforts to secure equal opportunities cannot stop at the door of our workplaces. As a Union we are committed, as part of our objectives, “to take appropriate steps, alone, or in co-operation with other organisations, to promote justice and equality.”
These steps do not always have to be big steps. Small steps can help too.
Funding a homeless charity to put livery on its van can help. Providing office facilities to an organisation dealing with sexual abuse can help. Printing booklets for a body opposed to racism can be of benefit. Indeed, simply writing letters or promoting causes, which highlight and address areas of inequality and exploitation in our own society and elsewhere can help.
Our supplementary report highlights a number of areas for further action and can be accessed here