[Excerpt] One of the central goals of contemporary feminism has been the full integration of women into the workforce. While broader economic and social forces were decisive in propelling women into full-time employment, the women's movement took as its particular task shaping the nature of that participation. The movement sought to achieve economic equality for women workers through two primary strategies: 1) gaining entry to traditionally male-dominated jobs and training, and 2) upgrading the pay and status of traditionally female-dominated jobs. The clerical sector—with its overwhelming concentration of women workers, its rock-bottom pay scales, and its gender-based work culture—was a logical focus of that second strategic course.
Historically, the rate of unionization among clericals has been low. Some feminists blamed this on the indifference of maledominated unions to the particular problems of women in the workforce. Others believed that there were unique circumstances which made clerical workers resistant to traditional trade union approaches. Out of such analyses, a small but determined network of activists shaped an alternative conception of organization for office workers, beginning in the early 1970s.
"Organizing Clericals: Problems & Prospects,"
Labor Research Review:
8, Article 4.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/lrr/vol1/iss8/4