Women in the Leadership and Decision Making Processes of Trade Unions in Nigeria: Issues and Prospects

  •  Toyin Adefolaju    


Nigerian women had been active in the socio-economic development of their various societies long before colonisation. Their activities situated primarily within their families and communities. Things have however changed in favour of women participation in wage employment and by extension, in trade union activities. This is because membership of the labour force makes one automatic member of the respective organisation’s trade union. Being an organisation with patriarchal structures and attitudes, this paper examines the involvement of women in the decision making processes of trade unions in Nigeria. A total of six hundred and forty (640) women in wage employment were chosen for this study through a multi-stage random sampling technique across five industrial unions in the country. Data were generated using the qualitative method wherein copies of a questionnaire were administered on the respondents. This was complemented by in-depth interview sessions with fifteen other female workers. Relevant literatures were reviewed and the study is situated in the pluralist perspective. Findings revealed that while women now play active roles in trade union activities, they are less involved in the decision making processes of their respective trade unions due to inhibiting cultural attitudes and structures. Ameliorative steps that could enhance women greater involvement in the policy-making processes of these trade unions are put forward.

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