Bringing Back the Heart: The Gender at Work Action Learning Process with Four South African Trade Unions

Date: September 26, 2014
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The Transformation of Work research series is produced by the Solidarity Center to expand scholarship on
and understanding of issues facing workers in an increasingly globalized world. The series is a product of
the Solidarity Center’s USAID-funded Global Labor Program, which supports the efforts of the Solidarity
Center and its consortium partners-the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations
and Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO)-to document challenges to
decent work and the strategies workers and their organizations engage to overcome those challenges.
Gender at Work partners with organizations around the world that have recognized the limits of
traditional gender mainstreaming approaches1 and are seeking alternatives. The Gender at Work
approach promotes women’s empowerment and gender equality through addressing institutional
norms and rules (stated and implicit) that maintain women’s unequal position in societies.2 These
institutional rules determine who gets what, what counts, who does what and who decides. They
include values that maintain the gendered division of labor, prohibitions on women owning land,
restrictions on women’s mobility and perhaps most fundamentally, the devaluing of reproductive work.
Institutional rules are lived out through organizations which are the social structures that exist in any

Through the Gender Action Learning Process (GALP), we attempt to combine feminist thinking and
practice with insights from organizational development to build internal cultures of equality and
contribute to the transformation of cultural norms that support achieving gender equality and social
This set of case studies explores Gender at Work’s approach to furthering gender equality objectives
within four trade unions participating in the Gender at Work South Africa Gender Action Learning
Program: the South African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU); Sikhula Sonke;
Building, Construction and Allied Workers Union (BCAWU) and Health and Other Service Personnel
Trade Union of South Africa (HOSPERSA).


Publisher: Gender at Work
Year of Publication: 2013
Download : 19493_gender_at_work_south_africa_case_study_pdf_final_(3).pdf

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