ETUC 8th of March Survey 2016

Dear colleagues,

please find attached the report of this year 8th of March Survey.

The first part of the report looks at trends in female trade unions' membership and in unions' decision-making positions among ETUC confederations and ETUFs.

The second part of this year survey draws conclusions on trade unions' actions to tackle gender occupational segregation.

We take the opportunity to thank the several members that contributed, this year again, to the positive outcome of this survey.

Best regards,

Cinzia Sechi

Key findings (Part I)

  • A high proportion of confederations (53 from 34 countries) have responded to the ninth 8th March survey.
  • The 53 confederations who have responded have 43.1 million members, more than 95% of the total members of the 90 confederations affiliated to the ETUC.
  • Most confederations (47 out of the 53 responding) were able to provide figures for the total number of members and the total number of women members.
  • The average proportion of women members in the confederations replying to the 2016 survey is 43.4%. This is around four percentage points lower than the proportion of women among employees in the countries covered by Eurostat.
  • The proportion of women among union members ranges from three-quarters (74.9%) in STTK (Finland) to one in eight (12.6%) in DEOK (Cyprus). This is a much bigger range than the proportion of women among employees, which is highest in Latvia (52.5%) and lowest in Turkey (27.8%). However, the wider range of women in unions is partially explained by the areas in which confederations recruit members.
  • Most confederations report an increase in the proportion of women in membership, with four times more confederations saying that the female proportion has gone since 2015 than that it has gone down.
  • If the comparison is limited to the 23 confederations replying every year since 2008, a clear upward trend is evident, with the average proportion of women going up from 44.5% of union members in 2008 to 46.9% in 2016.
  • The TUC (UK) is the confederation with the largest number of women members.
  • Looking at union leaders, 10 of the 53 confederations have a woman as the key leader. However, as two confederations have a joint leadership, where the president and general secretary share the top spots, there are 55 leadership positions, of which 10 (18.2%) are held by women.
  • The average percentage of women on decision-making bodies between confederation congresses was 29.7%.

Key findings (Part II)

  • There is substantial agreement on the main causes of gender occupational segregation. Horizontal occupational segregation is primarily caused by gender stereotypes, which are deeply embedded in society and difficult to shift. The key reason for vertical occupation segregation, on the other hand, is the way that society deals with childcare. Although these were not the only causes identified by national confederations, they predominated.
  • Most confederations have taken action to tackle gender occupational segregation, often working with other groups, in particular women’s organisations. They have achieved some successes through collective bargaining, legislation, campaigns and training, although there is a recognition that dealing with gender occupational segregation is a long-term task.
  • National confederations have clear demands on national policy makers. They want better childcare, action on stereotypes, better parental leave, quotas for women and action on women’s pay.
  • They also believe that the EU has a role to play in this area particularly through getting employers to adopt equality plans and strengthening the involvement of the social partners.