Purpose – In a recent review of the history of women in unions, the author suggested that downturns in the economy have had a more significant effect on women than men in unions, leading to significant declines in the membership of women in unions. The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between economic cycles and women's membership in unions. Design/methodology/approach – The paper investigates that relationship using both quantitative and historical methods and generate evidence for the proposal. Findings – Based on the historical and quantitative analysis, it is concluded that a more accurate way to depict the situation is to say that economic conditions influence union membership through a number of important intervening variables and, furthermore, that changes in those intervening variables over the past 40 years have substantially influenced the relationship between economics and union membership. Originality/value – This paper is unique in its combination of historical and empirical approaches to addressing questions of a historical nature. The paper addresses an interesting proposal regarding relationships between economics and gender in union membership
Journal of Management History – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 1, 2006
Keywords: Gender; Economics; Management history; Trade unions
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