Women's Members Group
Women form the majority of UNISON members in Birmingham.
UNISON structures like 'proportionality' attempt to make sure that the women are represented at all levels in the union, at least at a level that reflects their proportion of the membership. If the membership is 65% women, then the leadership should be at least 65% women.
Women’s Organisation in UNISONaddresses the discrimination women face and provides a forum and structures to promote issues that particularly affect women in the workplace and in society in general. Family care, low pay and domestic violence are just some examples of our campaigns.
Our women’s group meet once a month to plan activities and to support members with issues. Meetings are open to all women members and take place at the branch office. If you are passionate about women’s issues please join us.
Women's Group Meetings 2019
Below are the dates for your diaries, for the Women's SOG meetings in 2019 -
Wednesday 30th January - 5-6pm -
At this meeting there will be debate on the emergency motion for Women's conference on the threat that is faced by the withdrawal of the free TV licence on retired women members.
Wednesday 27th February
AGM - Wednesday 27th March - 5-6.30pm
Wednesday 24th April
Wednesday 29th May
Wednesday 26th June
Wednesday 31st July
Wednesday 28th August
Wednesday 25th September
Wednesday 30th October
Wednesday 27th November
Wednesday 18th December
Rouse Ye Women International Women's Day Event
The Branch’s Women’s Group recently attended Rouse Ye Women for International Women’s Day at The Mac. The event was opened by poet and performance artist Tannyy Tizzle who performed 4 pieces. Ann Wackett from Momentum spoke among other things in support of the Birmingham Homecare Workers. She felt their story was so inspired by their resolve that she cut short her own speech to allow Mandy Buckley (Senior Steward for Birmingham Branch) to update the attendees on the ongoing dispute.
A member sent this review:
“I had the pleasure of seeing the play last night as part of Women's International Day and organised by Rose Brown, NEC, Unison. It was very moving but my thoughts turned to the Home Carers who have been striking for 60 + days now for their basic rights.
The oppressor in the play reminds me of the tactics of the current Leader of the City Council and their unfair scaremongering tactics to privatise home carer jobs.
40% of the Home Carers have left the service. BCC changed their shift patterns, with many of these women having to look after children at school and on their own so it was impossible for them to find childcare.
The remainder stand firm and hope to retain a living wage and work-life balance. If BCC succeed our loved ones with Dementia etc. would have to pay £200+ per week for this entitlement. Due to the support of UNISON and donations the Home Carers have been able to “stick it out” for the long haul. Just like Mary Macarthur (1880-1921), Mandy Buckley with the backing of UNISON was able to strengthen these women. Some of these women had never left Birmingham, but now are travelling up and down the country rallying support and giving speeches. Rouse Ye Women!”
The Home Care Workers are still fighting for a wage they can live on and for the hours that they work. The battle is ongoing for these low paid women workers with the full support of the Branch.
Please look out for more Women's Group events in the near future.
Finally! Recognition for Mary Seacole.
Born Mary Jane Seacole in 1805 in Kingston Jamaica, Mary has finally received recognition from the establishment by way of a statue to be unveiled in London later today. This follows a 12 year campaign that raised £500,000 to support the project.
Mary learned Nursing from her mother who kept a boarding house for invalid soldiers.
When denied the opportunity to travel to Crimea with Florence Nightingale, Mary went anyway opening the “British Hotel” for sick and convalescent officers.
She visited Florence Nightingale at the Barrack Hospital in Scutari where she reports that Nightingale was “friendly” but there is no evidence of any other meetings .Lord Soley, Chair of the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal, said:” The unveiling will be a truly memorable event and, after 12 years of campaigning, we look forward to finally granting Mary Seacole the acknowledgement she deserves for her selfless support of British soldiers.”
Visit of Mercedes Sanchez Monday 2nd October 2017
Visit of Mercedes Sanchez from Nicaragua
The meeting was addressed by Mercedes Sanchez, Coordinator of Women’s Committee-Latin American region of the PSI. Mercedes shared the Nicaraguan experience of Neoliberalism which resulted in citizens voted for self determination under a Socialist Government. Mercedes talked about how trade unions worked in and alongside institutions promoting Socialist and egalitarian principles which encouraged a 50/50 approach in employment and Government with laws to protect the rights of both women and men. Equality is entrenched into law making Nicaragua a champion of gender inequality and promoting laws including those that allowed breast feeding mothers extra time to do so within the workplace.
Mercedes talked about the focus on the Human Development Plan to encourage economic growth with increased employment and reduced inequality and poverty. I must say that while listening, I was mentally packing a bag for a sudden unplanned move to Nicaragua!
Mercedes went on to tell us about the threat faced by Nicaraguans from the NICA Act as not only was it a throw back to American imperialism, as America intends to persue the Act to apply economic sanctions over alleged authoritarianism and corrupt elections (President Daniel Ortega was democratically elected and even allowed observers into elections but their validity was questioned when they found no fault. Observers were chosen by the US Government)!
Mercedes explained that UNISON National affiliated to Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign and is asking Birmingham Branch to do the same in order to preserve the autonomy and prosperity of the people’s of Nicaragua. The group agreed to discuss this as a motion for Branch Committee at our next meeting.
We all agreed with the sentiments that we need unity and working together to fight with hope. The riveting debate that followed left no time for our intended agenda and the group agreed to defer the agenda until our next meeting which I propose to hold on Monday 23rd October, 5.30 – 7.00, 19th floor McLaren Building, Priory Queensway
Women's Group Update from 23/10/2017
Rose explained that she had not yet prepared the motion to affiliate to the Nicaragua Solidarity campaign for this meeting but would propare the motion and provide it for group members in advance of it being presented at Branch Executive Committee meeting in November.
The group agreed to further examine the issues faced by Women with Gynaecological Health issues and reasonable adjustments.
There was a discussion about time being ‘afforded’ to Women with such issues with one example being of a woman being asked to take necessary breaks being told that these breaks should be taken in her own time. The group also discussed the validity of suchcomments being applied by a male manager. The person will be given details and advised to contact branch.
7 have expressed an interest in attending 2018 women’s conference. Rose will look into number of attendees, either as delegates or visitors and notify the group at the next meeting.
Rose notified the group of training available at national Unison.
Next meeting will be held on Saturday 25th November time to be confirmed
On 5th December the Women’s Group went to the showing of Battle of the Sexes at MAC. A film that depicts the ultimate in the fight for equal pay, I was joined by Homecare Enablement Prafula Patel and Usha Parmar and Michelle Wharton from a Children’s Centre’ This on the day when our Home Care Workers produce a 99% vote to take action, had me punching the sky even before the opening credits!
The Battle of the Sexes
Download women slay in your lane
Women Slay In Your Lane
The event was the well-attended and the Impact Hub was filled with a mixture of women from of a wide range of ages and cultural backgrounds suggested their Acknowledgement of the value of knowing the struggles of sisters.
Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uvibinene explained in conversation with Jamelia that the need for the book came about when, looking for motivational books for women, Yomi noted how easy messages in existing literature could be misinterpreted when being applied by black women and how confidence is sometimes interpreted as aggression.
They noted that there was little research around the educational achievements of black women and girls. They spoke about how, through social media, the internet was holding companies and brands accountable with black twitter launching many unknown brands.
What was also noted was that for some of us, their frustrations were nothing new and that there was a real need for cheerleaders in the age when so many conversations are taking place about diversity, there was a level of engagement from outside of the community who know that black women are the most under represented demographic can this be more than a book?
To register email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0121 200 3331
UNISON WOMEN’S SELF ORGANISED GROUP INVITES YOU TO CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH WITH THE SCREENING OF THE INSPIRING MOVIE
The film tells the story of the achievements of female mathematicians involved in the Mercury Project for NASA. Their contributions lead to the first human spaceflight. For years, their story was hidden from history. Join us with guest speakers Lord Mayor Cllr Yvonne Mosquito and MP Preet Gill and singer songwriter Jamelia have been invited to talk about their journey from anonymity to their rightful place as stars of their own stories and an inspiration to others.
The event takes place on Wednesday 10th October from 5.30 at UNISON, 19th floor McLaren Building, 46 The Priory Queensway, B4 7LR.
A hot buffet will be provided but space is limited to book a place, please register at email@example.com.
Again, spaces are limited and you are urged to register interest by Friday 14th September
Date: Wednesday 14th November
Time: 5.30 – 6.30
Venue: Mclaren Building, 19th Floor, 46 Priory Queensway, Birmingham, B4 7LR
At this meeting we will elect delegates for Women's Conference in February 2019. Those interested should write a statement outlining why they should be chosen to attend. The deadline for statements is 12:00 on Friday 10th November.
- Louise Richards from The Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign
- Adrianna Kara from The Bakers Union
- Stand Up To Racism
- Dave Auger from Unison West Midlands - International Officer
Then the rest of the agenda resumes:
- Elections for Delegates to Women’s Conference
- Any other business
Women In Unison Comedy Event
UNISON Birmingham Branch presented the Women in Unison Comedy event on Friday 17th June at The HUB in Stirchley. At a time when Birmingham is facing cuts to its budgets of 98 million, and given that 65% of public sector workers are women will mean that women are hit disproportionately hard.
Not only are women hit hardest working in the services they provide they are also hit by cuts to services they rely on. Some of our Carers have caring responsibilities in their personal lives.
According to the Women’s Budget Group, Social Care has already been eroded by more than 20%and social housing by almost 10%. Early education and childcare are also under attack.
The Women’s Budget Group acknowledge that it is “lone parents and single pensioners – most of whom are women – will suffer the greatest reduction in their living.”
With such news on the Horizon, Maureen Younger was able to make some Women forget the pressures of work/life imbalance and laugh way into a Friday afternoon. More events are planned. Watch this space for more.