Gender inequality in the workplace continues to be one of the most challenging issues to deal with in South African society where patriarchy still exists. This paper evaluates whether the South African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Union’s (SACCAWU) separatist model for dealing with gender inequality have been successful. The union’s decision to create a ‘separate space’ for women within the union is analysed. Data collection comprised of an analysis of SACCAWU’s gender policy and material (including workshops, discussions and programmes run by the union). Participant observation and semi-structured interviews with 22 SACCAWU male and female members regarding gender policies, inequalities as well as their own gendered behaviours. The findings show that the separatist model has been successful in terms of fostering leadership development amongst women within the union as well as improving women’s self-esteem. In addition, the findings reveal the challenges that still remain in the union with respect to how patriarchy still informs the way in which resources are distributed along gender lines, as well as how attitudes and behaviours conjure issues of gender inequality in the workplace.
Separate Space: An Approach to Addressing Gender Inequality in the Workplace.
Journal of International Women's Studies, 17(4), 91-101.
Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol17/iss4/7