Understanding the variations of the “glass ceiling”
Download
1 / 14

Understanding the variations of the - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • 197 Views
  • Updated On :

Understanding the variations of the “glass ceiling” within and across unions : the heuristic interest of a “union career” methodology. Sophie Pochic, CMH-CNRS Cécile Guillaume, CLERSE-CNRS . Women under-representation in the Trade Union’s movement. A universal paradox ?

loader
I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
capcha
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'Understanding the variations of the ' - medwin


An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
Slide1 l.jpg
Understanding the variations of the “glass ceiling” within and across unions : the heuristic interest of a “union career” methodology

Sophie Pochic, CMH-CNRS

Cécile Guillaume, CLERSE-CNRS


Women under representation in the trade union s movement l.jpg
Women under-representation in the Trade Union’s movement

A universal paradox ?

Paradox between the continuous feminization of the workforce and the constant under-representation of women in the structures, cultures and agendas of unions, in all countries. Two examples :

- France (CFDT, 2nd trade union, 600.000 mbs), 45% of women, 27% of regional executives, 35% of Bureau National (30 national leaders) in 2004

- Hungary (MSZOSZ, 1st trade union, 235.000 mbs), 48% of women, no female regional secretary and 22% of the Executive Committee in 2005

However, very different national contexts, with more or less developed union equality policies and contrasting industrial models :

- in France, low union density (7% for women and 9% for men), with a mix of radical (quotas) and liberal equality measures within the CFDT, even if equality remains secondary in the union agenda

- in Hungary, moderate union density (22% for women and 17% for men), with the inheritance of a formal egalitarian model but a refusal of radical measures and a global EU-approach of “equal opportunities”.


Slide3 l.jpg

Women under-representation in the Trade Union’s movement

Hypothesis

How can we understand the replication of a « gendered glass ceiling » in these two contrasted union contexts ? By comparing and matching union careers as a way to reveal the organisational processes and norms that contribute to the reproduction of gender inequalities :

- in the Chicago school tradition, a career is a trajectory in a specific world with a mix of planned and contingent positions and events, with objective and subjective dimensions

- a career is embedded in an organisational context and a set of social relations, particularly in union structures where roles and positions are less formally defined than in the corporate world

- studies on gender and organisations convinced us to focus the analysis on the embeddedness of gendered inequalities in organisational structures, cultures and practices, emphasizing the processes that create inequalities

- the choice of two contrasted cases (France and Hungary) allow to separate put the societal dimensions (employment regime, welfare and gender regime, industrial relations systems) that interfere with organisational processes.


Slide4 l.jpg

Women under-representation in the Trade Union’s movement

  • Hypothesis

  • Although industrial regimes strongly differ, we have defined functional equivalent in terms of union responsibilities (at local, regional, national levels, technical or political role) for trade unionists and officers.

  • Drawing on the work of R. Crompton (2001) on biographical matching and comparative analysis, we use career narratives to examine :

  • - the organisational processes and career norms implicitly required for the making of trade union leaders : the different sequences of a « union career », necessary steps, main tracks, atypical routes and turning points, and the role of significant others

  • - the articulation and interferences between different spheres (family, youth organisations, political party), also emphasizing the role of trade unions’ identities in the promotion of specific trade unionists’ profiles (in terms of age, sex…) depending on periods, and the impact of life cycle and work-life-union balance issues on individual forms of union commitment

  • - the influence of equality policies at the different stages of a union career and their possible side effects.


Methodology l.jpg
Methodology

A case-oriented comparative and cross-national approach (France and Hungary)

Qualitative life-stories interviews with women and men trade unionists in France and in Hungary, a snow-ball sample in search of “variety” in terms of level of responsibilities (elected officials, paid officers, rep., lay activists) and gender => access to different generations (from 1960s to 2000s)

Embedded in one union organisation in each country => purposively selected cases to emphasize a “contrast of contexts” between unions with different levels of feminisation and varied equality policies (combined with study of documents, field-work in conferences and training sessions)

France : 50 interviews, 8 at the confederation level of the CFDT, 17 in “masculine” industrial federation (Metal workers, Construction, Utilities, Transportation), 25 in more feminised federations (Services, Health, Communication)

Hungary : 46 interviews, 9 at the confederation level of the MSZOSZ, 15 in the union for trade (KASZ), 22 in the Metal Workers union (VASAS).


The heuristic interest of a union career methodology l.jpg
The heuristic interest of a union career methodology

1. The informal organisation of careers

Career narratives reveal the central role of “significant others” and the prevalence of informal rules and processes in the making of trade unionists:

- in both countries, informal recruitment processes and internal co-opting preside over the organization of careers at all levels of the hierarchy, from trade union peers support at the workplace level to sponsorship (and campaigning) by other union officers to access officials positions,

- with a gendered bias (mostly male officers) and obvious sexism in male-dominated unions, reinforced by age discrimination against young women (HU ++), active but rare mentoring from senior women officers (FR +)

But contrasted attractiveness of union “employment markets”:

- open-market with few applicants in a context of participation shortage (high turn-over, low paid, ‘cushy job’ stigmata) in FR / reduced and rather depreciated opportunities in HU (low turn-over, ageing staff attached to their seats, ‘old regime’ stigmata), particularly for officers positions

- access to union positions dependent on union rights and resources, labour law and support of the State (very weak in HU, loss of resources linked to union density decline / strong in FR, even in private sector).


The heuristic interest of a union career methodology7 l.jpg
The heuristic interest of a union career methodology

1. The informal organisation of careers

Career narratives reveal the typical career routes and their evolution :

- in both countries, permanence and domination of an inherited activist pattern “rank-and-file” and, at national level, fierce competition among a small pool of long serving loyal officers (mostly men)

- however, development of new routes : ‘expertise routes’ (recruitment, legal action, health & safety, economic action, international), favourable to women and new profiles, but narrow careers paths for young paid-officers without an activist experience.

With different history in terms of women employment and union representation :

- until 1989 in Hungary, compulsory union membership (96%) and high level of female employment rate, numerous senior female trade unionists but concentrated in technical or secondary leadership positions. For new generations, women work mostly in unorganised workplaces (private services or industries, small firms, except from public services)

- in France, historical under-organisation of female workplaces, but continuing feminization of union membership and a large scale recruitment strategy was launched in 1985 by the CFDT.


The heuristic interest of a union career methodology8 l.jpg
The heuristic interest of a union career methodology

  • 2. The articulation and interferences between different spheres

  • Career narratives allow to reveal the interrelations with other types of organisation/sphere :

  • Links with other militant organisations:

  • * socialisation and selection operated by Youth organisations in the 70’s (communist KISZ in Hungary / catholic JOC in France)

  • * unusual in the 90’s-2000’s (except for student unions in France)

  • Links with the State, Political Parties and ideological orientations:

  • * in Hungary : union dependency on political regulation, in a context of union competition and trust in Socialist Party (MSZP, less committed to support unions)= focus put on institutional provisions and less on organizing or bargaining strategies, many senior trade unionists have kept their mandate

  • * conversion of the CFDT to reformism : numerous internal conflicts that have allowed the promotion of young women (and men) in favour of this new orientation, or at least not seen as opponent to the confederation’s line (ie not with left-wing convictions).


The heuristic interest of a union career methodology9 l.jpg
The heuristic interest of a union career methodology

  • 2. The articulation and interferences between different spheres

  • Career narratives allow to reveal the interrelations with other types of organisation/sphere :

  • Links with family life (especially for women) :

  • * work/life balance issues, union activity create intense need for extensive availability and geographical mobility (commuting or moves), especially for full time officers and officials

  • * at workplace level, role of time-off agreements (with a variety across periods, countries and companies) - always better in public sector

  • * need for partner/family support for women with young children, individual arrangements - easier when grow-up children

  • * State support to female workers/unionists :

  • - in Hungary “maternalist regime” with childcare provisions in the past but less effective today (lower female employment rate, long parental leaves, conservative vision of gender roles but no part-time jobs).

  • - in France, full-time women employment sustained by collective childcare provisions and education system (9h to 18h since 3 years old).

9


The heuristic interest of a union career methodology10 l.jpg
The heuristic interest of a union career methodology

3. The secondary role of equality policies

Career narratives allow to demonstrate that internal equality policies have been unable to tackle issues such as internal job segregation:

- inheritance of a “women section” in Hungary (as youth section) and refusal of quotas; in France support of quotas at national level since 1982 but defense of a “mixité” policy (a mix of women and men)

- “homology” between women’ segregation at work and within trade unions:

* women are specialised in certain roles at all stages of their union career (recruitment/organizing, administrative roles, training, communication, legal activities)

* they have difficulties to be identified as possible managers

- symbolic hierarchy of skills, which remains male-dominated and linked to gender work segregation:

* recruitment and organising skills: for new entrants and female

* expertise: gender-neutral but few promotion opportunities

* negotiation, management and political skills: more senior and male .

10


The heuristic interest of a union career methodology11 l.jpg
The heuristic interest of a union career methodology

  • 3. The secondary role of equality policies

  • Career narratives allow to demonstrate that internal equality policies have been unable to tackle issues such as gendered stereotypes (and individual strategies to tackle those representations):

  • - remaining masculine charismatic definition of power, especially linked, in France, to a “Class unionism” dominant identity, emphasize on collective mobilization in critical contexts (strikes) and members’ activism, ideological conflicts - even if this legitimacy is less shared by the new and younger leaders of the CFDT

  • - some women (and a few men) share the idea that women have a more co-operative, consensual and less adversarial style (and/or a different approach to solve problems, relate with members…) - even if gender identity vary amongst women

    - difficulty to say if it is a “feminine” trait or a “new entrant” strategy, in a context of competition between old and new legitimacies (servicing / organising, expertise / charisma…).

11


The heuristic interest of a union career methodology12 l.jpg
The heuristic interest of a union career methodology

3. The secondary role of equality policies

Career narratives allow to demonstrate that equality policies have been unable to tackle issues such as class differences and qualification issues :

- behind gender issues, class/race issues that are rarely addressed, especially in Hungary but also in France. Obvious under-representation of “new workers” : low-paid women, black workers, contingent workers (fixed-term and temp contracts)…

- qualification issues, as a trade union leader is also « a manager » (writing and communication skills needed) :

* at national/regional level, always easier for qualified activists with diplomas, especially within the CFDT (social-partnership strategy and “reformist” action) but also in Hungary (legal advice, economic expertise, health and safety expertise)

* union training quite developed in France (used to be in Hungary but lack of resources today), with technical and ideological dimensions (often after the selection), but emphasis on the “training-on-the job” - common refusal of “separate” women-only trainings or conferences.

12


The heuristic interest of a union career methodology13 l.jpg
The heuristic interest of a union career methodology

  • 3. The secondary role of equality policies

  • Career narratives allow to demonstrate that internal equality policies have created their own side effects :

  • - equal opportunity policies in France (quotas and “mixité” policy) => growing opportunities for women, but side effects : suspicion of incompetence, lack of experience and local base support

  • - implicit refusal of a traditional “feminist” approach by women leaders (under-estimation of the barriers other women can encounter and of the exceptionality of their own career), with few exceptions / avoiding to be labelled as feminist seems necessary to build one’s legitimacy

  • - difficulties to push woman agenda per se / representation of the entire membership and general union tradition, refusal of a “community approach” or “quotas”, sometimes seen as an abuse of positional power.

13


Slide14 l.jpg

The heuristic interest of a union career methodology

  • Conclusion

    A strategy of biographical matching has been developed to illustrate the re-production of gender inequalities in the access to union leadership.

  • This methodology enables to separate out the role of national systems (welfare and gender regimes, employment/education and industrial relation systems), organisational informal processes and formal policies in the understanding of gendered inequalities reproduction and/or improvement.

  • It provides a dynamic vision of the interrelations of different spheres of activity (life-work-union) and levels (macro-meso-micro) in a longitudinal perspective (individual life cycle and union life cycle), articulating structure and agency and paying attention to historical periods and economic/industrial contexts.

  • Drawing on contrasted cases, it helps to work on similarities more than differences, helping to tackle possible levers for action and identify “best practices”.

14


ad