Women’s participation in teacher unions: Implications of a ‘triple burden’ for union gender equality strategies

SAGE Publications
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Economic and Industrial Democracy, pp. 0143831X2095848-0143831X2095848
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Amidst declining union influence, teacher unions have retained power. However, work intensification, arising from increasing reform in school education, has potentially undermined union participation, particularly women’s. Using a mixed-method approach, this article examines how the tangled combination of women’s paid work, union participation and family/domestic responsibilities (the ‘triple burden’) affects women’s roles as unionists. Examining the case of Australian teachers, the article finds that while demands of ‘work’ and ‘life’ can stifle union participation, it is specifically the cultural and historical legacies in unions that hinder women’s participation. The findings offer new insights around issues affecting the participation of women in female-dominated unions, and the intersection between union organisation and operation and the member-workers whom they represent.
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