THE LARGER VIEW
The final section of Labor Education for Women Workers consists of two chapters. The first is a comparative survey of how labor education in four industrialized European countries, each with a highly developed trade union movement, prepares union women for leadership. In Sweden, Great Britain, Austria, and Germany, unions openly acknowledge the extent to which their continued growth requires integration of women into the workforce and the labor movement, and their training for fuller participation in trade unions. Educational methods and programs from the European experience may be directly useful or adaptable to the new momentum in union and university programming here, in response to the fact that women are in the workforce to stay, and are seeking information and skills to move ahead on the job and in their labor organizations.
The book concludes with a look ahead. Today’s labor educators are shaping the profession in new ways to meet new needs. The author of Chapter 23 reminds us of women’s past contributions in labor education, of how deep our roots are in their work. He expresses the hope that there will be increased university and labor union acceptance of and support for women workers’ programs, but notes the distance all of us still must go to achieve this.
Ideally, of course, there should be no need for special programs for union women. However, until women are recruited equally for union training courses, until these courses deal fairly with women’s roles and concerns, until women have gained the necessary self-confidence to speak up in meeting halls where they are in a minority, and until they understand unions as political organizations and participate effectively in them at every level, this need will continue. With this in mind, the final chapter summarizes the contribution that it is hoped this book makes, not only to the field of worker and adult education, but toward the acceptance of education for women workers as long as it is necessary to achieve these goals.