A Half-hearted Courtship: Unions, Female Members and Discrimination Complaints

Louise Thornthwaite*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Research suggests that since the 1970s, while union membership has been declining in Australia, trade unions have become more supportive of women workers and their specific concerns. This change of heart has been assessed largely in terms of union policy positions and union representation of particular issues. Anti-discrimination and equal opportunity laws have emerged during the same period as this observed change of heart has taken place. It may be hypothesized that, if unions have indeed altered their approach towards gender-based concerns in recent years, women workers will be seeking union assistance with gender-specific grievances such as discrimination complaints. This paper examines why women workers who belong to male-dominated unions are not seeking their union's support with discrimination grievances, suggesting that the extent of change in women's relationships with unions may have been limited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-529
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Industrial Relations
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


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