GMB Women Workers

With women making up over 50% of our membership, GMB campaigns and fights for better rights, pay and conditions for all women at work.

Ensuring that equality is at the forefront of everything we do - making work and society a better, safer place for everyone - is part of our core values.

We campaign and lobby the government at local and national levels on equality issues - so being a member of GMB is about ensuring that women’s voices are heard not just at work but in wider society.

Get in touch if you're passionate about women's equality and looking to get involved!

Regional Equality Officer Contact Details

Why is women's equality important?

Despite making up 50% of the workforce and all the laws which are supposed to protect equality, women workers are still a long way off being treated fairly in the workplace. In many sectors, the situation for women workers is getting worse.

Women still get paid less than male counterparts for work of equal value, are still discriminated against if we have children or other caring responsibilities and are still more affected by public sector cuts. 

Facing issues around childcare, sexual harassment, menopause, domestic abuse, low pay and more, women find themselves working harder to combat discrimination, pay inequality and to be recognised for their talents. 

Glasgow women demonstrate for equal pay

What issues do women workers face in the workplace? 

Maternity leave

According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, women returning from maternity leave are more likely to face discrimination in the workplace than they were a decade ago, with around 54,000 new mothers are losing their jobs across Britain every year – almost twice the number identified in similar research undertaken in 2005.


While the gender pay gap fell to 17.9% in 2018, women who work full time are still paid less than men. The Equal Pay Act came into force in 1975 but women’s work across industries is often still undervalued, underpaid and under recognised. GMB campaigns for equal pay across public and private sector employers. If you think you're being paid unfairly, contact your GMB region today. 

Flexible Working

Women are still more likely to have caring responsibilities than men. Many still face difficulties caused by refusal of flexible working requests, for example to organise childcare. GMB supports the TUC's campaign for better rights to flexible working.

GMB members can learn more about rights to flexible working at our advice page. 


Women workers make up 50% of the workforce and around seven in ten people of typical menopause age are in work. GMB members have spoken out about the number of problems people experiencing the menopause face in the workplace - including hot flushes, irregular heavy periods, anxiety and memory issues, sleep problems and joint and muscle pain. Whilst most employers still do not have policies to support workers experiencing the menopause, members can face disciplinary action as a result of triggering sickness absence policies, through no fault of their own.

GMB members and offices came together to tackle the problem with a major campaign - and now you can take the GMB model menopause policy to your employer and ask them to sign up. 


Women workers are fighting for fair 'transitional relief' for women born in 1950s who are facing hardship and poverty because of the government increasing their state pension age without adequate notice. GMB supports the WASPI (Women against State Pension Inequality campaign.

Domestic Abuse

Women are disproportionally affected by domestic abuse, with one in four women experiencing domestic abuse in their adult life. Domestic abuse has a devastating impact on individuals and their families. People experiencing domestic abuse are often subject to disciplinary action or job losses, often through no fault of their own. GMB activists campaign around the impact of domestic abuse at work with our Domestic Abuse Charter.

Public Sector Cuts

65% of public service workers are women, and almost a quarter of all working women are employed in the public sector. Public sector cuts have a major impact on women workers and even more so on Black, Asian and minority ethnic women workers.

Women workers are not only more like to lose their jobs under austerity, but also to lose vital services and social security payments, as on average, one fifth of women workers’ income is made up of benefits in comparison to one tenth of men’s.


In 2018 only 23.7% of Chief Executives and senior officials were women. It is said there are more chief executives called Steve or Dave who head up companies than women or Black, Asian and minority ethnic workers.

Women are still more likely to be in lower paid, less secure and part time work. 

Sexual Harrassment

1 in 2 women have been sexually harassed at work but 4 out of 5 feeling unable to raise it at work. GMB supports the TUC's campaign for government to make it law for employers to protect against sexual harrassment by 'third parties' - like clients and customers - in the workplace.

The government has now committed to doing this - but we'll keep applying the pressure until it happens. 

How does being a member of GMB make a difference to women’s lives? 


Support when you need it

Our women members tell us that being in GMB makes a huge difference to their working lives. On average, union members get higher pay than non-members. Members tend to get better sickness and pension benefits, more paid holiday and more control over things like shifts and working hours. This is because workers, through their union, join together to negotiate pay and conditions. 

If you need help or advice, contact your workplace rep or GMB regional office. 


GMB Women Winning in the workplace!

GMB women activists in Glasgow lead the largest ever equal pay strike in UK history. Thousands of care sector workers took over the streets of Glasgow to demand historic equal pay justice - and won.

From winning on sick pay for outsourced workers in the NHS to fighting for equal pay at ASDA, GMB women are leading the way to making our workplaces fairer and more inclusive.



GMB recognises the additional impact that gender plays in barriers in the workplace for women who also belong to other groups which are discriminated against. We know that: 

  • Women disabled workers can struggle to access reasonable adjustments
  • LGBT+ women face additional barriers in coming out and facing harassment  
  • Young and BAME women deal with extra stereotypes and prejudice 

GMB Women's Conference

Want to get active around women's rights at work? 

Join GMB Sisters - GMB's regional self-organised groups (SOGs). Open to all women, Sisters groups are a great place to meet likeminded people and organise around workplace issues important to you.  

Sisters groups organise activities and campaigns, developing workplace toolkits and help deliver conferences and training. We act as a contact and support for all regional GMB women members. Sisters aim to create a safe space to discuss and tackle issues around gender equality - wherever you work. 

GMB organises and participates in events including Women’s History Month, Eleanor Marx Day, the Women Chainmakers festival in Cradley Heath and more. We work alongside other self-organised groups, supporting events like LGBT+ history month, trans remembrance day and Black history month. We send delegates and motions to TUC Women’s Conference and Labour Women's Conference.

To get involved get in touch with your regional equality officer

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