Do Unions Promote Gender Equality?

TitleDo Unions Promote Gender Equality?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsLurie, Lilach
JournalDuke Journal of Gender Law & Policy
Pagination89 - 109
Date Published2014///
Keywordscollective agreements, gender, gender equality, labor unions, patriarchal division of labor

Do workers’ unions promote gender equality? The scholarship in the past thirty years has increasingly questioned the ability of unions to give voice to the needs of all workers, including foreign workers, workers with disabilities, elderly workers, gay and lesbian workers, and women. This article shows that unions promote a patriarchal division of labor in society through an empirical study of most of the sectorial collective agreements with employers in Israel. The fathers’ role in these collective agreements is to support their family; the mothers’ role is to raise the children. Thus several collective agreements provide mothers with flexible working hours and reimbursements for daycare centers, while not providing these rights to working fathers. Significant collective agreements grant working fathers, but not working mothers, with a special “family supplement” that is added to their monthly wages, increasing the gender wage-gap.