About the author: Jane Parker studied and taught at undergraduate and Masters levels at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. She completed her PhD in Industrial Relations at the University of Warwick, UK. She is the co-author of a leading textbook on employment relations in New Zealand and has published in the British Journal of Industrial Relations. Since working as a union organizer for the Iron & Steel Trades Confederation (ISTC), she has undertaken contract research in the industrial relations area.2003 0-7734-6710-6
Within industrial relations, the mainstream literature has not shown much interest in women as the subjects or shapers of research. This study shows the centrality of women’s organizing to unionism and women’s experience of unions, and provides insights into the circumstances necessary for women’s sustained activism. It examines union operations and how women’s groups influence, and are influenced by, them. It contributes an original analysis of the organizational ‘identity’ of individual unions and women’s groups. It also examines the complex relations between unions and their women’s groups within particular institutions, including the little-examined area of women’s engagement in less formal as well as mainstream union activity.