Labour History

“A Fine and Self-Reliant Group of Women”: Women’s Leadership in the Female Confectioners Union

Labour History (2013), 104, (1), 49–64.

Abstract

The contribution of honorary officials has often been overlooked in studies of trade union leadership. Informed by developments in leadership research, in particular analysis of women’s trade union leadership, this paper explores labour women’s leadership in the Female Confectioners Union, a women’s union. Using a group biography approach, the rank-and-file women activists who held the critical honorary positions are traced over the history of the union. Issues explored include the making of the women leaders and the nature of the women’s leadership style. What emerges is the adoption of administrative conservatorship as the prevailing leadership style rather than transformational leadership, as the women’s leadership literature would suggest.

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Footnotes

*The author would like to thank the two anonymous referees and the editors ofLabour Historyfor their comments and suggestions. Google Scholar

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Author details

Brigden, Cathy