International women’s day 8 March

Did you know – about women?

Did you know Union has over 1 million female members and that Unison was formed in 1993 – UNISON was created in 1993 through the merger of several unions, including the National Union of Public Employees (formed 1905) and the Confederation of Health Service Employees (formed 1910). It maintains a separate political fund, which supports the activities of the Labour Party.

Did you know the first woman’s strike in the UK began on 7 June 1968. Women machinists at Ford’s Dagenham car factory have gone on strike. They are protesting about the re-grading of their jobs, feeling they have been treated unfairly compared with the men working in the plant. The strike would lead to equal pay legislation being introduced two years later.

Did you know that the suffragettes also helped men over 21 with the right to vote – On 6 February, the Representation of the People Act 1918 was passed – prior to this only men who owned property could vote – this enabled approx 5.5 million more men the right to vote. Thank you suffragettes.

Did you know Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was an American political figure, diplomat, and activist. She served as the first lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945, during her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four terms in office, making her the longest-serving first lady of the United States. In the postwar years, Roosevelt continued her advocacy for women’s rights at home and abroad. She continued to support the advancement of women in professional and political positions, and supported the rights of working-class women, through labor unions and other organizations.

Did you know an investigation by UN Women UK found that 97% of women aged 18-24 have been sexually harassed, with a further 96% not reporting those situations because of the belief that it would not change anything.

Did you know 1/4 Of UK Employees Bullied at work For those of you who thought that bullying ended in the playground, think again. Sadly, 1 in 4 of us have experienced bullying or been made to feel left out in their place of work.- define bullying as ’offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behavior, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient’.

Did you know only six countries in the world give women and men equal legal work rights- If you’re a woman and want to be on an equal footing with men, it’s best to live and work in Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg or Sweden.

Did you know women used to dominate the beer industry – that is until the witch accusations started pouring in. Humans have been drinking beer for almost 7,000 years, and the original brewers were women. From the Vikings to the Egyptians, women brewed beer both for religious ceremonies and to make a practical, calorie-rich beverage for the home.

Did you know the first feminist in the UK was Mary Wolftonecraft born in London 1759 – Today Wollstonecraft is widely recognised as a principal architect in the fight for sexual equality? Her work is still published around the world. –  She remains an enduring symbol of the ongoing fight against misogyny and sexual injustice.

Did you know 1 in 3 women around the world experience violence (source. World Health Organization).

Did you know 58% of all women murdered in 2017 were killed by an intimate partner or a family member (source. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2018).

Did you know over 200 million women and girls in 30 countries have undergone female genital mutilation (source. Unicef, 2016).

Did you know women spend at least twice as much time as men on domestic work, and when all work – (paid and unpaid) – is considered, women work longer hours than men (source. The World’s Women, 2015).

Did you know over 2.7 billion women don’t have the same work opportunities as men, with laws restricting the types of jobs they can do (source. World Bank, 2018).

Did you know the US is one of only eight countries in the world that does not provide any form of paid maternity leave by federal law.

Did you know women across the world currently bear the majority of childcare but, when fathers take on at least 40% of the childcare responsibilities, they themselves are at lower risk of depression and drug abuse, and their children will average higher test scores, have stronger self-esteem, and fewer behavioural problems.

Did you know over a quarter of women seeking medical help for menopause symptoms had to visit their GP three times or more before receiving treatment or support.

Happy International Women’s Day – 8 March 2022

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global campaign to highlight the inequalities and biases faced by women around the world. The first IWD took place in 1911, with the aim of celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. While it occurs on only one day a year, it is something that UNISON staff work to address all year round for our women members, who make up around 70% of the total membership.

This year’s theme is ​​​​​​#BreaktheBias, which has been chosen to inspire us all to work together to collectively create a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. Individually, it encourages us to take responsibility for our actions, in turn breaking the bias in communities, workplaces and beyond.

And it doesn’t stop there

In advance of International Women’s Day the Jimmy Reid Foundation is holding an online rally ‘Women in unions: advancing their interests’ on 2 March 2022 at 7pm with Christina McAnea, Shavanah Taj and Roz Foyer ( a great lineup) discussing the issues, ideas and strategies.

I would ask you to please share the details and the link below with your activists and members.  Some of our 1 million women members will be interested in hearing what our General Secretary, Christina, has to say.