Developing Women Leaders in a Globalized Context
As shown in Chapters 2 and 3 (this volume), women remain underrepresented in union leadership and strategies to tackle this are deemed necessary. One such strategy that we consider here is women-only union/labour education. The focus of the chapter is the unique union women’s leadership development programme-an exchange of American and British women union leaders-designed especially for and funded by our research project. Whilst the literature has established the value of women’s training courses, committees, groups and networks in developing and sustaining women as trade unionists (e.g. see Colgan and Ledwith’s (2002) international collection), we are unaware of any previous explicit attempt to bring together American and British women within a women’s union leadership development programme. The potentialities of different types of transnational union partnerships are interesting on account of the increased globalization of trade and capital that unions face internationally and certainly in the UK and the USA. This chapter describes and discusses the processes, challenges and individual and collective outcomes of our cross-national programme. First, some background on union/labour education in the UK and the USA is provided including a short discussion of the aims and purposes of womenonly courses, transnational union education and transnational networks.