La rappresentanza delle donne nel sindacato: il caso CGIL


Since the nineteenth century women’s movements, gender studies, public and international debates have focused the attention on a range of issues that include political equality, women’s status and rights, women’s access to the elective offices and to power roles.
This study takes into consideration women’s participation and representation in decision making processes in one of the most important trade unions in Italy, the CGIL (ITALIAN GENERAL CONFEDERATION OF LABOUR).
CGIL was the first trade union in Italy to introduce measures (quotas, women’s sections) to achieve an equal gender participation in the decision making bodies, therefore this study tries to understand and analyse the complexity of “what is happening) with CGIL women’s representation”.
We examine gender dynamics and strategies to outline the importance of women’s presence in position of power. Thanks to documental analysis and interviews, we take into consideration the main features of this process. The research addresses a number of questions. How, and under what circumstances, were CGIL’s women able to increase their presence in the decision making posts?
Having increased their presence, did they tackle gender issues and discrimination? Were they able to make a difference in the political agenda?
Data collected in the empirical research show that women face a lot of problems in their career and in their day to day work: the difficulty to reconcile the “time to care” and the “time to work” and a difficult relationship with men’s subculture are some of these.
However, women have reached a sufficient number, a good proportion of members in the decision making roles (the descriptive representation), and they constitute a critical mass for advancing women’s issues and interests. So they are substantive representatives interested in women’s concerns and in kick-starting other processes of empowerment. They propose a new model of doing leadership: they promote a gender mainstreaming approach for dealing with women’s as well as men’s issues.
In this way they want to point out women’s differences: a different style of behaviour, different outcomes for all the members.

Parole chiave: partecipazione, rappresentanza, tetto di cristallo, acquisizione di potere, processi decisionali, approccio di genere.
Keywords: participation, representation, glass ceiling, empowerment, decision making processes, gender mainstreaming.

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