Monday 8 March is International Women’s Day, when we celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness against bias, and take action for equality.
With women representing three quarters of the CSP’s members, we know more than most the power of collective action when fighting for a more equal future.
In line with the IWD 2021 campaign theme - #ChooseToChallenge - we’re asking our members to share how you choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. Please upload videos onto your social media platforms and tag the official CSP platforms, which we will re-share.
From challenge comes change, so let's all choose to challenge.
How CSP activists have secured more gender-equal workplaces
Several members working for a social enterprise in Yorkshire approached their CSP steward, Justine, as they were worried about the lack of formal guidance on how staff could be supported when going through the menopause. There were also concerns over a lack of guidance on how flexible working during the menopause could be facilitated by managers. Justine, alongside other union reps raised the issue at the partnership and well-being forums, where it was agreed that an organisation wide menopause policy would be jointly written. The policy has now been introduced and managers are also receiving training on how to support staff going through the menopause.
Maternity and adoption guidance
Concerns were raised by both staff and managers at an NHS foundation trust in London over a lack of clarity regarding issues to do with maternity/paternity issues, including time off for fertility treatment and returning to work following a miscarriage, still birth, premature birth or an unwell child at birth. This was leading to additional stress for staff who were already going through a very traumatic and unpleasant experience. The stewards, Hannah and Jo, raised the issue and took part in negotiations with HR to rewrite the trust maternity/adoption policy to make it more compassionate and supportive of staff. The measures introduced in the policy have resulted in the trust being granted an "Employer with a Heart Charter" from the charity The Smallest Things.
Post-natal return to work
A member approached their CSP steward after going off sick from work experiencing post-natal depression. Their rep supported the member by exploring various return-to-work options with the employer, facilitating an occupational health referral, and securing adequate equipment for home working. With this early and consistent help from the CSP, the member eventually returned to their normal hours
However, in the UK and worldwide, ‘women’s work’ is all-too-often precarious, inflexible, and poorly paid. Sexism and inequality is still found within most workplaces, and indeed our trade union movement. This is particularly the case for women further discriminated against due to their ethnicity, social class, sexual orientation and gender identity, disability, or other social characteristics.
Jill Taylor, Chair of the CSP Employment Committee
I am proud to represent our members as a woman and help call out and challenge gender bias and inequality that we, and many others are exposed to daily. Working in a heavily female based profession these biases are often made clear when looking into employment rights such as maternity, pensions and flexible working and as a trade union the CSP works tirelessly on behalf of its members to ensure our stewards are trained to seek out and challenge inequality and bias at all levels. As trade unionists, we must then #ChooseToChallenge and call out gender bias and inequality wherever we find it.
CSP at Trades Union Congress
This year, CSP members made vital contributions to TUC Women’s Conference. This is important now more than ever, as we face a potential setback of up to 25 years in gender equality in the wake of the pandemic.
Speaking alongside colleagues from UNISON, The Royal College of Midwives and the National Union of Journalists, CSP regional steward Joanne Bleasdale delivered two speeches. Joanne’s initial speech was themed on the unequal impact of Covid-19 on women. The second discussed gender based violence.
These themes will be taken forward by the TUC Women’s Executive, who will work to support trade unions and push this agenda with employers and government over the next year.
Greet Janssens, co-convenor for the CSP DisAbility network, also attended conference. Greet has been able to take part in workshops including Equal Pay at Work, Winning Workplace Support for Survivors of Domestic Abuse and Menopause Matters.
Find out more
- Find out about sex discrimination and your rights at work. Contact your CSP steward if you are concerned that you’ve faced sex discrimination at work. Where there is no CSP steward, contact the CSP enquiries line 0207 306 6666.
- The CSP Equality & Diversity Toolkit is a practical guide for CSP stewards, managers and members to the Equality Act and related issues.
- Many women make flexible working requests, in a large part due to them still conducting a disproportionately high amount of unpaid domestic labour and childcare. The CSP’s Building a Better Balance campaign aims to raise awareness about flexible working
- Find a virtual International Women’s Day event
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