Women of all ages in the union

Becca Hufton is a member of the CWU Kent Invicta branch and sits on the National Youth Committee. She recently attended a women’s leadership course and shares her experience with you here.

Womens Leadership Course 1I recently attended a woman’s leadership course run by the CWU andRuskin College down in Portsmouth and I have to say it taught me more than I thought it would. I was proud that as an active member I was able to sit on a course in which there were not only reps but women that work for the business. Women that would like to be more involved and have their voices heard. It gives me the encouragement to know that what I am doing now, and shall continue to do, will hopefully encourage somebody else to become more active within the CWU.

I think the group feedback from the pre-course activity certainly gave a lot of food for thought:

Womens Leadership Course 2The pre-course activity itself was to select one or more inspirational women in the trade union movement that have had some impact on you. When listening to some people’s choices – there was a large variety of Spanish influences to women on our own door step such as Shelley Banbury, Frances O’Grady and even our mothers. Then there were the choices that made me really wonder how people got to them; but it was the testament of the environment that the course, tutors and other delegates had created that they felt they could express their views.

Womens Leadership Course 3However this activity and the course as a whole in fact made the realization that both men and women can be as inspirational and in some cases transformational as each other. I saw this even clearer through my choices. My inspirational women are extremely important to me and my journey in the CWU as they encourage me to step out of my comfort zone and strive forward. However my male role model is more transformational; he allows me the opportunities to challenge things and express my views in the right environment. Without these people I wouldn’t have the confidence or opportunity to carry out half of the things I do.

Womens Leadership Course 4There was a well presented and informative speech given by Trish Lavelle, Head of CWU Education & Training and there were a lot of opportunities to contribute to the presentation – very interactive. Trish covered the importance of the women’s leadership courses, where we are in today’s society with regards to equality. The presentation then went on to describe three famous groups in the trade union movement and how their sacrifices should not be taken for granted.

This course has also taught me things that I would not have learnt anywhere else and reinforced the importance of the under representation of women in the CWU. For me it has reiterated why we need to continue to hold these meeting’s at this particular point in the trade union movement.

I would like to send a personal thanks to Liz Phillips TheSouth East Learning Secretary and ULR for my branch Kent Invicta, for providing me with the opportunity to attend these courses and all the hard work she puts in to getting them up and running.

Keep on learning with the CWU!

Rebecca Hufton
CWU Kent Invicta Branch
National Youth Committee