A survey of women's participation in trade unions in kenya
The study had three objectives. One was to identify the barriers to women's participation in trade unions, both as ordinary members and officials. Secondly to identify the structure, policies and programmes that trade unions have put in place to address issues that are specific to women members. Thirdly, to determine the extent to which trade unions have addressed issues specific to women. The research methodology was a survey. This consisted ofa census study of union that are registered in Kenya and have their headquarter in Nairobi, Kenya. Primary data were collected through the use of questionnaires. The questionnaire was distributed to the union officials. Chi square test and frequency analysis were used to analyze data analysis Most of the union respondents (57%) have specific policies on gender and 21.4% of the unions have policy on equality. Recognition agreement still remains a barrier to women's participation in trade unions. The use ofa committee (29.3% of the unions) is still a popular structure to deal with women unique issues. Lack of recognition agreement still remains a hurdle that affects the participation of women and men. Employment contracts serve as a barrier to women's participation in trade unions.2 1.4% of the union respondents indicated that women members shy from vying for leadership positions during elections 57.1% of the unions have administrative measures to encourage the participation of women. The widely used administrative measures were workshops and seminars. 42.9% of the unions rated the management support for gender issues as poor. This undermines whatever administrative measures put in place. 42.9% of the unions said, that female members forfeit annual leave whenever they take maternity leave. However, union officials pointed out that this depends on the agreement between the organization and the uruon, Management of the unions need to understand that issues that affect women should not be left to an officer or wing that is designated to deal with women issues. Issues that are common to both men and women members should be dealt with using the same structures. It is important for further research to be carried out on the effectiveness of these policies and administrative measures. It would also be important to carry out a comparative study between men and women on various issues like training, promotion and election representation.