Author: Gerry Mooney

Women in Scotland 1900-2021: Workplace Struggles Project

Updated Friday, 7th January 2022
Find out more about an exciting new project which is concerned to uncover a largely hidden past: women’s involvement in workplace struggles across Scotland since the early 1900s and discover how YOU can get involved.


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Our Project and Your Project?

Launched in early 2021, this project is led by a team of academics from The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at The Open University in Scotland and is supported by Scottish Union Learning and Glasgow Trades Council.

Through interviews, archival research, oral history testimonies, focus group and discussion meetings, the goal is to begin to excavate and capture some of these hidden histories and bring together in one place a collection of accessible learning resources that will be of use to future generations of trade unionists, activists, researchers, historians as well as the wider public in Scotland. It is also hoped that we will attract contributions produced by those who have been directly involved in disputes, and alongside these, include any relevant photographs and images, posters, flyers, audio and video recordings. The learning materials submitted will be considered by the project team at the OU and will subsequently be prepared for presentation on The Open University’s OpenLearn platform, an accessible and widely used learning resource that has recorded millions of visitors from across the world.

This project is led by Gerry Mooney and Carol Raeside, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) at The Open University in Scotland, and is supported by Tommy Breslin, Senior Development Officer, Scottish Union Learning and Jennifer McCarey, Glasgow Trades Union Council. The project team at the OU in Scotland includes Helen O’Shea, Lecturer in History, and a group of FASS Scotland Associate Lecturers: Mary Burgess, Suzie Collins, Thora Hands, Tricia McCafferty and Mags McCarthy.

How you get involved in this exciting project

If you are interested in contributing to this project, Women and Workplace Struggles: Scotland 1900-2021, please contact us at We are particularly keen to hear from women workers, and from male trade unionists, who have been involved in struggles around issues such as pay and fairness at work, defending jobs and battles to defend or improve workplace conditions, and disputes and strikes more generally from across all sectors of the economy and from any and every locality in Scotland. We are also keen to capture both historical pieces produced mainly through secondary research as well as contemporary stories and accounts.

We are happy to receive contributions from trade union groups, local history societies, activist groups and trade union sponsored learners. Materials focusing on any dimension of women’s role in workplace struggles, disputes and conflict, will be welcome. If you have images, photographs, dispute paraphernalia (leaflets, flyers, posters and so on) we would also be pleased to hear from you. If you are willing to allow us to use this material on our OpenLearn site, you will of course be credited for this.

Contributions are welcome at any time though our goal is to formally launch the OpenLearn article collection in Spring, 2022, and would prefer contributions before the end of April. Please do email the OU Project Team at if you have any ideas for contributions that you would like to discuss.

Writing for a public audience can be a daunting task especially for those with little experience in recording their own involvement and role. Support and guidance will be provided by members of the OU team, and each contributor will be given detailed feedback and guidance to ensure their work meets with the goals of the project. The authorship for each article will be attributed to the person(s) or groups who contribute the piece in question and authors will be free to use the article in any other context by linking to OpenLearn.

An example of the kind of material we hope to produce is the 2001 Glasgow NE Hospitals Trust Medical Secretaries dispute, written by Mags McCarthy. This provides an idea as to length, format, and the kinds of things we would wish to capture with regards to the dispute or struggle you are concerned with.


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    Gerry Mooney

    (Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences)

    Gerry Mooney is Professor of Scottish Society & Social Welfare, School of Social Sciences & Global Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at The Open University. Gerry started tutoring with the OU in Scotland in 1986.

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