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TUC Women’s conference 3-5 March 2021

Take a look at the programme and sign up for your preferred sessions below.

If you need further information please email

Wednesday 3 March 2021

10:00- 10:45 Conference debate: Trade unions - Organising against unequal impact of Covid-19 on women

Speakers: Speakers: Frances O’Grady, General Secretary TUC; Sue Ferns, TUC Women’s Committee Chair

Event link - no registration required

12:15-13:30 Panel discussion: Working women - paying the price

Speakers: Professor Clare Wenham, LSE; Chidi King, Director of Equality ITUC; Charlotte Woodworth, Gender Director Business in the Community, Zubaida Haque, Race equality expert and Independent SAGE.

Event link - no registration required

18:30-19:15 Interactive workshop: Women, health and safety and organising

Women only make up roughly a third of students on TUC health & safety courses, yet for many modern workplace hazards, it is women facing more of the risks. How can we encourage more women to become health & safety reps? How do we organise around health & safety in the workplace?

Hosted by Shelly Asquith, Health and Safety Policy Officer, TUC Education

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18:30-19:45 Interactive workshop: Organising for equal pay

The aim of this session is to distinguish between a gender pay gap and unequal pay, to enhance the understanding of the dynamics of unequal pay, and to facilitate the planning of actions to challenge unequal pay. This work is based on research the Equality Trust undertook into the gender pay gap within FTSE 100 companies. It will close with a workshop designed to think about how we can create pressure for change.

Hosted by our friends at the Ella Baker School of Organising

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Thursday 4 March 2021

10:00-10:40 Conference debate: Trade unions - Ending gender-based violence

Speakers: Annette Mansell-Green, Vice Chair TUC Women’s Committee

Event link - no registration required

12.15-13:45 Interactive Workshop: Trade unions winning workplace support for survivors of domestic abuse

The Covid pandemic is far more than a health and economic crisis. It has created what the United Nations has called a “shadow pandemic” of surging violence against women. Trade unions have been at the forefront of helping spot signs of domestic abuse and Hear from reps about the policies and practices they have been put in place to support survivors in the workplace.

Hosted by TUC Yorkshire and Humber

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12:30-13:15 Panel discussion: Delivering award winning learning, support and wellbeing for women in the community

Speakers: Val Kilner and Supporting Sister volunteers. Aspire is an award-winning not-for-profit organisation based in Chester-le-Street, Co. Durham. Aspire deliver high-quality learning, support and wellbeing services at our women-only centre and volunteering opportunities across the North East of England.

Hosted by TUC Northern

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18:30-19:45 Interactive workshop: Preventing sexual harassment in the workplace

Research by the TUC unearthed the staggering scale of sexual harassment in our workplaces – 1 in 2 women and 2 in 3 LGBT+ workers are sexually harassed in the workplace. This workshop seeks to explore how women as an integral part of the workforce can design, and make dominant, narratives that challenge the culture (and the underlying assumptions) that allow sexual harassment to take place in the workplace. 

Hosted by Ella Baker School of Organising

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Friday 5 March 2021

10:00-10:45 Conference debate: Trade Unions - Strengthening women’s rights and representation at work

Speakers: Marsha de Cordova MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities; Gail Cartmail, TUC President; Davena Rankin, UNISON

Event link - no registration required

12:30-1:15 Panel discussion: Women changemakers - Mary Macarthur and the women chainmakers

Hear from the 1910 chainmakers of Cradley Heath in person as we broadcast a 1970s historic BBC documentary that captures the personal testimonies of some of the women who took part in the 10 week dispute that secured the first minimum wages in the UK. Following the film, a quick update will be given about the forthcoming Mary Macarthur Lecture, as well as the new TUC centenary exhibition focused on Mary Macarthur as well as about how to get involved in the annual TUC Women Chainmakers’ Festival and the Friends of Women Chainmakers organisation.

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12:30-13:30 Panel discussion: Ending inequalities in Black women’s maternal health care

Black women experience unacceptably poor maternal health outcomes compared to white women, including disproportionately high rates of death related to pregnancy or childbirth. During the Covid-19 crisis, black women comprised 55% of women hospitalised while pregnant with coronavirus. The UK’s BME population is around 13%.  Both societal and health system factors contribute to high rates of poor health outcomes and maternal mortality for Black women, who are more likely to experience barriers to obtaining quality care and often face racial discrimination throughout their lives. Black women are four times more likely to experience a pregnancy-related death than white women.

Panellists will reflect on this evidence, share their professional expertise and lived experience, as well as setting out the actions they want to see from trade unions, government and health care practitioners. 

Chair: Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Deputy Mayor of London

Speakers: Atinuke Awe, FiveXMore; Zeenath Uddin, Royal College of Midwives; Sandra Igwe, The Motherhood Group

Event link - no registration required

12:30-1:30  Panel discussion: In the footsteps of the Pankhursts: Empowering women through place-led change

GM4Women is a coalition of changemakers, led by Helen Pankhurst, changing the future for women in Greater Manchester. As a region that has always led the way and flown the flag for women’s rights, GM4Women’s first initiative, the Pankhurst-Fawcett Scorecard will is a tool to bring progress and hold those with power accountable. Join the call and hear reflections and practical tips on driving change in your community.

Hosted by TUC North West

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18:30-19:45 Panel discussion: Our future, Our fight - Strengthening women’s rights and representation at work

Chair: Professor Aileen McColgan, IER

Speakers:  Karon Monaghan QC; Christina McAnea, General Secretary UNISON; Shavanah Taj, General Secretary Wales TUC; Lucila Granada, Director at Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX)

Event link - no registration required

18:30-19:30 Interactive workshop: Intersectional organising – increasing women’s representation in the trade union movement

Women are underrepresented in public life, political life and within our trade union movement. Progress has been made to address these issues in recent years but work is still needed. In particular to increase the visibility, power and agency of Black Women, disabled women and LBT+ women. This workshop will focus on innovative new organising tactics so we ensure women lift as we rise.

Hosted by Alice Arkwright, TUC Education

Speakers Sophia Moreau, campaigner

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