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Society, Politics & Law

Women in Scotland 1900-2020: Workplace Struggles Project

Updated Wednesday, 10th March 2021

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

Through interviews, archival research, oral history, 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. Once gathered, the materials will be presented below 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 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. It is supported by Helen O’Shea, Lecturer in History at The Open University, Mags McCarthy, Open University Associate Lecturer and Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS UNISON Shop Steward and Thora Hands and Tricia McCafferty, Associate Lecturers with The Open University.

How you get involved in this exciting project

If you are interested in contributing to this project, Women in Scotland 1900-2020: Workplace Struggles, please contact us at We are particularly keen to hear from women workers who have been involved in struggles around pay and fairness at work more generally, from across all sectors of the economy and across Scotland workplace or location across. We are happy to receive contributions from trade union groups, local history societies, activist groups. 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.

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, 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 and every piece will be attributed to the person who contributes the piece in question.

An example of the kind of material we hope to produce is on the 2001 Glasgow NE Hospitals Trust Medical Secretaries dispute 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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