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NUJ wins unions' equality prize

29 March 2012

The NUJ has been recognised for hugely increasing the number of women on its national executive council from 13 per cent to 32 per cent.

The prize was awarded as part of the Southern & Eastern TUC's ninth equality survey in trade unions, Swimming against the tide. The NUJ, which has female membership of 39 per cent, bumped up its number of women on the council to almost a third through job-sharing and gender-balanced nominations.

Other unions recognised were the rail union RMT, the actors' union Equity and teachers' union NUT.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said:

"At a recent NUJ event, which focused on sexism in the media industry, we asked: 'Where are all the women?'. We heard how women working in the media face sex discrimination, harassment and lower pay. They are penalised for becoming pregnant, frozen out of promotions and the minute they develop wrinkles they are edged off the TV screen.
"The meeting agreed that the way to beat this sexism was by collective action through union action. To do this, unions must lead the way in putting women at the heart of policy making and giving them a prominent role in union business. That is why we are pleased to accept this award on behalf of all the women – and men – on the NEC."

Lena Calvert, NUJ equality officer, said:

"By taking direct action, the NUJ has boosted the number of women on the NEC. Having more women in decision-making and policy-making roles will strengthen the union's democracy and ensure that gender-specific issues are addressed."

Megan Dobney, SERTUC regional secretary, said:

"The purpose of these surveys is not to wag the finger at unions, but to enable equality activists to avoid reinventing the wheel. If you see a shortcoming in your union's equality representation – you'll find an innovative and effective answer has been developed somewhere in our movement. Swimming against the tide is a tool and resource for activists and officers – get your copy, use it, and we'll all be stronger!"

Tags: , sertuc, women, equality, nec