STEPPING UP, STEPPING BACK:
WOMEN ACTIVISTS ‘TALK UNION’ ACROSS GENERATIONS
The Berger-Marks Foundation trustees weren’t sure quite what to expect when they brought together 30 women activists — half of them younger than 35, the other half older than 35 — to New Orleans last March for an intergenerational conversation about the labor movement.
What they got was a deeper understanding of what it is about unions that turns younger women on and what turns them off.
They also managed to create a real sense of sisterhood among the participants from more than 25 unions and allied organizations who left New Orleans “refreshed, reconnected and less isolated.”
Spotlight on younger women, unions & social justice
The observations and recommendations of these 30 vibrant, intelligent women are captured in a report published by the Foundation. Stepping Up, Stepping Back: Women Activists ‘Talk Union’ Across Generations is an honest and complete reflection of how these women view social justice, the American labor movement and the role of younger women in unions.
New & provocative ideas emerge from frank discussions
The report is based on quotations from the women themselves (most of them anonymous) as well as conclusions and ideas produced by group discussions that were recorded by two facilitators on flip charts.The Under 35 (U35) and Over 35 (O35) participants at first met separately, followed by combined conversations in plenary sessions.
Like the women who attended this intergenerational summit, Stepping Up, Stepping Back pulls no punches in its critique of today’s unions. Its prescription for change includes practical, yet bold, steps that America’s labor movement should undertake in order to ensure it becomes a “safe space” for tomorrow’s women workers and activists.