Eva Bermúdez-Figueroa

University of Cádiz

Invisible? Women unionists in sherry area. Obstacles and experiences

Eva Bermúdez-Figueroa, University of Cádiz

This paper aims to expose the process of invisibilization of women participation in the labor movement and their obstacles and experiences in taking part in the unions, as an exponent of hegemonic masculinity.  We will analyze the conclusions of research conducted in the University of Cádiz (2017-047/P01-BRM-EBF)   and financed by Electors Asociation Ganemos Jerez, with a qualitative methodology based in thirty women unionists life stories. In this project,  Women in labor movement in Sherry Area (1960-2017), we make an effort to synthesize a long period of political and economic changes in a very concrete scenario in the south of Spain, with a deep tradition on self-management and autonomous unions in an industrial area of wine and shipyards (Foweraker,1990) . Taking intersectionality as a means of analysis, in the case of this area we do not focus the ethnic or race discriminations as we do not find different ethnic groups in this area or sectors, but we do find class differences inside work and also unions (Hebson, 2001).  These women are representing different professional fields and sectors; some masculinized as the wine sector in Jerez or banking sector, some feminized professions as operators or family care, social work, teaching, and nursing. We will also make a distinction about women unionists and wives of man unionists in late Francoism period, when women in Spain weren't plenty inserted in labor market and any union activity was prosecuted by the regime. We will pay attention to the obstacles, experiences, and representations of these women about the different perceptions of dynamics in unionism, daily union company life, glass ceiling, lack of balancing of family and union and work life, protest repertories. We conclude  paying attention to the future of unionism and their necessary changes to include women in the decision making and all the areas. And this is, by the moment, very far from the reality of unionism in Spain, more specifically in Andalusia.

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