The NEU is committed to challenging discrimination on the grounds of gender and sex and to campaigning on behalf of its members to ensure they are being treated equally. We work to influence policies at school, local and national levels relating to both working conditions and rights for our members and for the young people we work with. We work with other unions and organisations who share our aims.
Tower Hamlets & the City is keen to increase the involvement and activity of women members in the work of the Union. If you would like to be more involved or require some advice or information, please contact us via email Alex.Kenny@exec.neu.org.uk
ELTA Equalities Officer: there is currently a vacancy
If you need advice or support, please check out our Advice page or get in touch with us direct: Alex.Kenny@exec.neu.org.uk
NEU representatives on the TUC Women’s Committee:
Heather Mackenzie & Louise Atkinson
You can contact them here:
Despite being the majority group with 76% of our membership female, women are still under-represented in union roles apart from school reps where the figure is proportionate. The figure for Divisional Secretaries is on the increase.
Because women make up the bulk of the Union’s membership, the strategy of the Union has been to increase the engagement of women at all levels of the union through a holistic approach to training, membership, activism, membership on delegations and action.
One action that has been taken to address this at a national level is to establish a rule that the National Executive must be made up of at least 50% female representatives.
There is also now an expectation that any delegation should have the same requirement and work is being done to ensure that the same is achieved in committees across the union and all conferences. The National Executive is monitoring progress.
There have also been structural changes to the way speakers are organised at National Conference to facilitate the better involvement of women in debates. This has made a big difference to the balance of men and women in Conference debates and has also seen a general rise in democracy for all delegates in Conference.
Plans to hold a national women’s conference in 2020 were put on hold due to Covid-19.
The Union is also encouraging the creation of self-organising networks like the NEU Women’s Networks.
The Annie Higdon Award is given to an NEU member or team of members to acknowledge the work they have done in challenging sexism and building women’s activity in the union.This could be work done on curriculum resources, pastoral initiatives, whole school structures and/or union activity and engagement.
The Award was first awarded in 2020 and is called the Annie Higdon award in honour of one of the leaders of the Burston school strike.
Annie and Tom Higdon arrived in Burston in January 1911, having been fired from their jobs in another Norfolk school for attempting to raise standards. They attempted the same again in Burston. They lit a fire to dry the children’s clothes, to heat water for baths and to cook nourishing stews. They taught their pupils not only letters and numbers but about the world beyond their harsh lives in Burston. For the first time, the children aspired to a better life. And their parents did too: Tom was urging them to unionise.
The School’s Board sacked them from their jobs but the students organised a strike which was to last 25 years. Annie and Tom set up an alternative school on the village green which prospered for many years.
You can find out more about the Annie Higdon Award here. If you know someone you think should be nominated for the Annie Higdon Award, contact Alex.email@example.com.
This network is a self-organising network of women members in London NEU branches which is supported by staff from the London Regional Office.
The aim of the network is to:
For more details contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find the network on Facebook
You can follow the network on Twitter @LNWN_NUT