Edmund Heery and John Kelly (1988) carried out an intensive research to resolve the contention revolving around effectiveness of women representation. The debate surrounding women representation has fuelled intense debate on whether women representation makes a different or not. Both protagonist and antagonist have repeatedly raised diverging opinion on the necessity of women representation.
Although, women representation is relatively high in modern world compared to the ancient days, their role is more of women representative than that of collective bargaining. However, while some antagonist refutes the effectiveness of women representatives, the antagonist asserts that men can champion the collective needs for both genders more conveniently. In recent times, the number of women representative has increased to argument the proportion of women in the trade union. The increase in women representation has not only altered the perception of trade unions but it has also shifted the focus above pay increments to encompass on gender issue. The focus has intensified on female issues such as; equal pay, parental leave, sexual harassment and women heath.
Conventionally, these issues were given low priority in most ancient times (especially in men dominated unions) but the trend seems to be charging with inclusion of women representatives. Despite increase in women representation, women popularity amongst their fellow women has remained low. From the research that was conducted, results revealed that most women prefer appointing men representatives compared to the female counterparts. Further, findings show that over 80 percent of the women believe women FTO champions “woman issues” (Heery and Kelly, 1988). In addition, more observation reveals that women representation remains low despite women active participation. On the other hand, women representation has been predominant in large unions compared to the smaller unions. Despite their participation in large unions, the few of these women occupy the peak of the organization.
For instance, only 5 percent of the women representative occupied senior position in senior position. While only two were general representative, in 1987 out of the 8 general secretaries only three were senior secretaries (Heery and Kelly, 1988). The article further reveals that men can do roles done by women more comfortably. Generally, women find it difficult to promote equality by their own exertion and therefore they require external efforts to promote their welfare and enhance their performances. While women need to use their own efforts to promote equality, 84 percent of the women feel women have a long distance to cover before reaching equality. Nonetheless, most workers have started appreciating women representation in the trade union activities. In 1980, only 12 per cent held a contrary opinion over women performances while a whooping 88 percent affirmed their support for women (Heery and Kelly, 1988). Therefore, women representation in trade union has brought a new dimension an overly different approach in conduct and scope of approach.
The argument presented in the article is valid bearing in mind the sensitivity of gender issues and the overall employees’ composition. I totally support the evidence presented by the author since they represented the situation at the ground. In most cases, instead of women championing for collective bargain, they tend to focus their attention to gender issues thus having a more biased approach in their leadership (Heery and Kelly, 1988). I strongly support the findings of the article since the research was done across several trade unions through actual research rather hypothetical assumptions. The author in-depth research validates his finding for generalization and application in a broader perspective. However, at it emerges is presumption that women are more of women representative to general welfare spear headers.
Heery, E. and Kelly, J. (1988) “Do Female Representatives Make a Difference? Women Full-Time Officials and Trade Union Work,” Work, Employment and Society, 2(4) 487-505