As well as facing economic and social attacks working-class women are also facing increased everyday sexism – on the streets, at home and in our workplaces. Unfortunately this is being met by some in the labour movement and left with indifference or dismissal. But women should not have to go through it, and our unions should do something about it.
Challenging sexism is difficult – sexist jokes are seen as “banter” and if we challenge them we often face an escalation of the sexism, with an increasingly nasty tone. Sexism can feel, and be, very personal and this makes it hard to stand up to – but it’s rarely an individual problem.
Challenging sexism in our unions, and getting them to support us challenging it beyond, is central to getting our unions fighting fit. We need good policies on all issues, not just the economic ones, which affect women. We need structures which are democratic and dynamic. And we need to fight sexism in our organisations.
As the first step in developing ideas for how to challenge sexism in our workplaces and movement we want to learn more about people’s experiences of sexism in the workplace and labour movement.
What forms does it take – sexist “jokes”, inappropriate comments, lack of respect, lack of support for support needs, harassment? Who’s doing it? How can we challenge it? Is it worse in particular jobs, industries or unions? What are trade unions saying or doing to support women fighting sexism?
We’re collecting interviews, experiences and comments from people of all genders and none. We have some questions which you can use as a template to get started – or just send us your experience. Whatever you decide send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post it on the blog with others so we can share the experiences and lessons.
Your experiences and stories:
• “No more sexist banter!”: a tube worker talks about her experiences in a male-dominated industry
• “Challenging sexism with solidarity”: an administrator in a male-dominated workplace speaks about her ideas for challenging sexism
• The stark contrast between being a waitress and a well-organised public sector worker