Women’s conference unanimously backed UNISON’s call to tell the story of the women in the trade union movement who have made a difference and who have inspired other women.
As a result the STUC Women’s Committee will refresh its Inspiring Women booklet and will make it a living document to continually celebrate the role women play in the trade union movement.
Moving the motion, Davena Rankin warned, “We know that if we don’t record and publish our fights and victories then men will write the history books, claiming our victories as their own and erasing women from the narratives.
“It is these stories that we would encourage the STUC Women’s Committee to gather and publish.”
Davena shared a story about a woman who inspired her – Kate Muir, a rep in higher education now retired. She supported Davena to stand for election and mentored her on the Higher Education Committee.
“She took no prisoners, she said what she thought. And if that made senior managers uncomfortable, tough. If it made senior male trade union officials uncomfortable, well that was an added bonus,” said Davena to laughter.
She spoke of Kate’s local fights for her members on pay, when she achieved more than £9 per hour for her members when the minimum wage was only £6.19 per hour. In national pay negotiations she achieved a 5.2% rise in 2008 in the final year of a three year deal.
Davena concluded, “Kate and others like her deserve to have their stories, their struggles and their victories captured so that our movement truly acknowledges all of our inspiring women.”
Reports by UNISON Scotland Communications and Campaigns Committee from Kate Ramsden in Perth.