Inspiring women

Unite Equalities hosts National Women's Week in Birmingham to inspire and support women members

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Bringing together Unite women members from across sectors and regions, Unite Equalities held its first in-person National Women’s Week in Birmingham since the Covid pandemic last week.

National Women’s Week has been a Unite Equalities week-long event each year, whose aim is to bring Unite’s women members together for special intensive training courses to support greater involvement in their union.

Nearly one hundred members came to the event in Birmingham, where attendees learned about organising and campaigning in their workplace, becoming leaders in their union, and more.

Unite national officer equalities – women Alison Spencer-Scragg, who helped organise National Women’s Week, hailed this year’s event.

She explained the basic structure of Women’s Week, where four courses are held simultaneously, including Understanding your Union, Women Organising in the Workplace, Women Campaigning in the Workplace and Leadership Development for Unite Women.

“We offer a range of courses so that regardless of your experience in the union – whether you’ve only just joined or you’re an experienced rep – there’s something for everyone,” Alison noted.

“Understanding your Union was geared more towards those who had just joined the union, while the organising and campaigning courses were about how to build a sustainable workplace and campaign around workplace issues, and the leadership course was meant to support those who want to go for a senior rep or convenor position, or otherwise progress in the union.”

Throughout the week, the courses would break up into several plenary sessions that brought all the delegates together to listen to special guest speakers.

For Alison, it was the camaraderie and mutual inspiration delegates drew from each other over the course of the week that was the event’s highlight.

“When the week started, we asked for volunteers to speak on camera for a series of videos we’d be posting on Twitter,” she explained. “In the first day, you could see the reluctance among the delegates but by the end of the week we had so many people coming to us wanting to share their stories. They were inspired by others’ stories and saw how their experiences could have a positive impact on other women.”

Delegates at Unite’s National Women’s Week also highlighted how they really appreciated the cross-sector nature of the event.

“I had many women coming to me saying how they learned a lot from hearing what was happening in other sectors – that they drew inspiration from that as well,” Alison added.

You can see some of the stories delegates shared on Twitter on Unite Equalities Twitter page here.

If you’d like to learn more about Unite National Women’s Week, and how you can get involved next year, find out more here.

By Hajera Blagg