Blog: Celebrating Young Workers’ Month with an Intersectional Lens by Henrietta Cameron, YM Lead

November is a special month for UNISON as it marks the annual celebration of young workers. This month gives us a platform to recognise the invaluable contributions of young workers in workplaces, and an opportunity to raise awareness of the challenges they face.

Young workers are more likely to be in insecure work, in low paid jobs and have fewer opportunities for career progression. However, the experiences of young people are not uniform.  An intersectional lens can give us a unique perspective when celebrating young workers and platforming their experiences. Aspects of our identities, such as gender, race, sexual orientation, or class, intersect (or overlap) and can exacerbate workplace experiences and discrimination. For example, 2 in 3 young women experience sexual harassment, bullying or verbal abuse at work, and 6 in 10 young BME workers experience racism at work.[1]

Intersectionality is not just a theoretical idea to help researchers. It can be a practical approach to strengthening UNISON and our workplaces. It helps us remember the importance of elevating the voices of marginalised and overlooked groups allowing us to create true inclusivity and equality.

Recognising multiple layers of discrimination also helps us to address and fight compounded discrimination and challenges in the workplaces. For example, when considering the impact of policies in the workplaces, an intersectional lens means we are not applying uniform rules that can reinforce structural inequalities.

Most importantly, an understanding of the varied and diverse experiences of all workers, including young ones, builds solidarity, and a more representative union.

So, as we celebrate our young workers and highlight their unique experiences this month, lets embrace the unique perspectives and experiences each young member brings and empower the future leaders of our diverse and inclusive union.

Young people – uniting in UNISON will have a hugely positive impact on you and your workplace. Get involved and join us this month for our annual social, meet fellow young members over drinks, popcorn and a film screening of ‘Made in Dagenham’ (2010)

Get involved with Young Workers Month