Women in Industrial Relations: Overcoming Gender Biases

  • Leire GartziaEmail author
  • Alejandro Amillano
  • Josune Baniandrés
Part of the Industrial Relations & Conflict Management book series (IRCM)


Although the promotion of equality is central to the mainstream field of industrial relations, employment relationships and human resource policies continue to be designed according to the male breadwinner ideal. In this chapter, we examine from a gender perspective some of the antecedents and implications of this phenomenon. We review evidence that many conditions of employment such as wages, job security, or access to power positions have particular negative effects for female employees. At the same time, we underscore the many economic and cultural transformations occurred in the labor market, society and work configurations, which bring new opportunities for women’s advancement in employment conditions. In relation to this, we identify strategies that might help women overcome current obstacles and gender biases, and highlight the role of (and benefits for) IR agents in such transformation toward gender equality.


Gender Equality Collective Bargaining Industrial Relation International Labor Organization Female Employee 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Abele, A. E., & Wojciszke, B. (2007). Agency and communion from the perspective of self versus others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93(5), 751–763.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Adams, J. S. (1965). Inequity in social exchange. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in social psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 267–299). New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  3. Agle, B. R., Mitchell, R. K., & Sonnenfeld, J. A. (1999). Who matters to CEOs? An investigation of stakeholder attributes and salience, corporate performance, and CEO values. Academy of Management Journal, 42(5), 507–525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Amstad, F. T., Meier, L. L., Fasel, U., Elfering, A., & Semmer, N. K. (2011). A meta-analysis of work–family conflict and various outcomes with a special emphasis on cross-domain versus matching-domain relations. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 16(2), 151–169.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Austin, W., & Walster, E. (1974). Reactions to confirmations and disconfirmations of expectancies of equity and inequity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 30(2), 208–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Avolio, B. J., Walumbwa, F. O., & Weber, T. J. (2009). Leadership: Current theories, research, and future directions. Annual Review of Psychology, 60(1), 421–449.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Balliet, D., & Van Lange, P. (2013). Trust, conflict, and cooperation: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 139(5), 1090–1112.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Balliet, D., Li, N., Macfarlan, S. J., & Van Vugt, M. (2011). Sex differences in cooperation: A meta-analytic review of social dilemmas. Psychological Bulletin, 137(6), 881–909.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Bear, S., Rahman, N., & Post, C. (2010). The impact of board diversity and gender composition on corporate social responsibility and firm reputation. Journal of Business Ethics, 97(2), 207–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Beechler, S., & Woodward, I. C. (2009). The global war for talent. Journal of International Management, 15(3), 273–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Befort, S. F., & Budd, J. W. (2007). Invisible hands, invisible objectives: Bringing workplace law and public policy into focus. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Benharda, I., Brett, J., & Lempereur, A. (2010). Gender and role in conflict management: Female and male managers as third parties. Paper presented at the 23rd annual international association of conflict management conference, Boston, MA, June 24–27, 2010.Google Scholar
  13. Bernardi, R. A., Bosco, S. M., & Columb, V. L. (2009). Does female representation on Boards of Directors associate with the ‘Most Ethical Companies’ list? Corporate Reputation Review, 25(3), 270–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bradley, H., & Healey, G. (2008). Ethnicity and gender at work. Inequalities, careers and employment relations. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  15. Braithwaite, J. P. (2010). The strategic use of demand-side diversity pressure in the solicitors profession. Journal of Law and Society, 37(3), 442–465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Briskin, L., & Muller, A. (2011). Promoting gender equality through social dialogue: Global trends and persistent obstacles (Working paper No. 34). ILO. Industrial and Employment Relations Department. Retrieved from
  17. Broadbent, K. (2007). Sisters organizing in Japan and Korea: The development of women-only unions. Industrial Relations Journal, 38(3), 229–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Budd, J. W. (2004). Employment with a human face: Balancing efficiency, equity, and voice. Ithaca: ILR Press.Google Scholar
  19. Budd, J. W. (2008). A meta-paradigm for revitalizing industrial relations. In C. J. Whalen (Ed.), New directions in the study of work and employment. Revitalizing industrial relations as an academic enterprise (pp. 48–67). Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
  20. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2015). Labor force statistics from the current population survey. Retrieved from
  21. Carley, M. (2009). Trade union membership 2003–08. Dublin: European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. Retrieved from
  22. Carrell, M. R., & Dittrich, J. E. (1978). Equity theory: The recent literature, methodological considerations, and new directions. Academy of Management Review, 3(2), 202–210.Google Scholar
  23. Carroll, A. B. (1979). A three-dimensional conceptual model of corporate social performance. Academy of Management Review, 4(4), 497–505.Google Scholar
  24. Catalyst. (2010). Why Diversity Matters. Catalyst Information Center. Retrieved from:
  25. De Cremer, D., & Van Knippenberg, D. (2002). How do leaders promote cooperation? The effects of charisma and procedural fairness. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(5), 858–866.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Dell’Aringa, C. (2001). Wages and working time in the first report on industrial relations in Europe. In M. Biagi (Ed.), Towards a European model of industrial relations? Building on the first report of the European Commission (pp. 147–156). The Hague: Kluwer Law International.Google Scholar
  27. Desvaux, G., & Devillard, S. (2008). Women matter 2. Paris: McKinsey & Company. Retrieved from:
  28. Dirks, K., & Ferrin, D. (2001). The role of trust in organizational settings. Organization Science, 12(4), 450–467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Dirks, K., & Ferrin, D. (2002). Trust in leadership: Meta-analytic findings and implications for research and practice. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(4), 611–628.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Eagly, A. H. (1987). Sex differences in social behavior: A social-role interpretation (1st ed.). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  31. Eagly, A. H., & Johnson, B. T. (1990). Gender and leadership style: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 108(2), 233–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Eagly, A. H., Makhijani, M. G., & Klonsky, B. G. (1992). Gender and the evaluation of leaders: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 111(1), 3–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Eagly, A., Karau, S., & Makhijani, M. (1995). Gender and the effectiveness of leaders: A meta-analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 117(1), 125–145.Google Scholar
  34. Eagly, A. H., Gartzia, L., & Carli, L. (2014). The female leadership advantage revisited. In S. Kumra, R. Simpson, & R. J. Burke (Eds.), Handbook of gender in organizations (pp. 153–174). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Edwards, P. (2003). The employment relationship. In P. Edwards (Ed.), Industrial relations: Theory and practice (2nd ed., pp. 1–36). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
  36. Elgoibar, P., Munduate, L., Medina, F. J., & Euwema, M. C. (2011). Are employment relations in Europe based on trust? The employee representative perspective. Psychologica, 55, 255–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Elgoibar, P., Munduate, L., Medina, F., & Euwema, M. (2012). Trust: As essential as breathing. In L. Munduate, M. Euwema, & P. Elgoibar (Eds.), Ten steps for empowering employee representatives in the new European industrial relations (pp. 49–56). Madrid: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  38. Elgoibar, P., Munduate, L., Medina, F., & Euwema, M. (2014). Do women accommodate more than men? Gender differences in perceived social support and negotiation behavior by Spanish and Dutch worker representatives. Sex Roles, 70, 538–553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. European Commission. (2007). The challenge of mainstreaming for trade unions in Europe: How can trade unions foster gender equality in the work place and in daily life? Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. Retrieved from
  40. European Commission. (2012). Women in economic decision-making in the EU: Progress report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.Google Scholar
  41. European Commission. (2013). Industrial relations in Europe 2012. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Retrieved from
  42. European Trade Union Confederation; BUSINESSEUROPE/UEAPME; CEEP. (2009). Framework of actions on gender equality: Final evaluation report. Retrieved from
  43. Eurostat. (2014) Gender statistics. Retrieved from
  44. Eurostat. (2015a). Gender pay gap in unadjusted form. Retrieved from
  45. Eurostat. (2015b). Part-time employment as percentage of the total employment, by sex and age (%). Retrieved from:
  46. Fletcher, J. K. (1995). Radically transforming work for the 21st century: A feminist reconstruction of “real” work. Academy of Management Journal, 1995(1), 448.Google Scholar
  47. Fletcher, J. K. (1999). Disappearing acts: Gender, power, and relational practice at work. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  48. Forrest, A. (1993). Women and industrial relations theory. Relations Industrielles, 48(3), 409–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. García, A. B., Pender, E., Elgoibar, P., Munduate, L., & Euwema, M. C. (2015). The tower of power: Building innovative organizations through social dialogue. In M. C. Euwema, L. Munduate, P. Elgoibar, E. Pender, & A. B. García (Eds.), Promoting social dialogue in European organizations human resources management and constructive conflict management (pp. 179–196). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  50. Gartzia, L., Ryan, M., Balluerka, N., & Aritzeta, A. (2012). Think crisis – Think female: Further evidence. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 21(4), 603–628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Gartzia, L., & van Engen, M. (2012). Are (male) leaders “feminine” enough? Gender traits of identity as mediators of sex differences in leadership styles. Gender in Management, 27(5), 295–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Gartzia, L., & López-Zafra, E. (2014). Gender research in Spanish psychology: An overview for international readers. Sex Roles, 70(11–12), 445–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Gartzia, L., & López-Zafra, E. (2016). Gender research in Spanish psychology, Part II: Progress and complexities in the European context. Sex Roles, 73, 11–12.Google Scholar
  54. Gartzia, L., & van Knippenberg, D. (2015). Too masculine, too bad: Effects of communion on leaders’ promotion of cooperation. Group & Organization Management, 1–33.Google Scholar
  55. Gill, C. (2006). Industrial relations in Western Europe. In M. J. Morley, P. Gunnigle, & D. G. Collings (Eds.), Global industrial relations (pp. 71–85). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  56. Gosset, K. R. (2011). An examination of referent group identification and its effect on equity sensitivity levels among employees. Doctoral dissertation, Anderson University, Indiana. Retrieved from
  57. Gregory, A., & Milner, S. (2009). Trade unions and work-life balance: Changing times in France and the UK? British Journal of Industrial Relations, 47(1), 122–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Haselhuhna, M. P., Kennedyb, J. A., Krayc, L. J., Van Zantc, A. B., & Schweitzerd, M. E. (2015). Gender differences in trust dynamics: Women trust more than men following a trust violation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 56, 104–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Heilman, M. E., Block, C. J., & Lucas, J. A. (1992). Presumed incompetent? Stigmatization and affirmative action efforts. Journal of Applied Psychology, 77, 536–544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. ILO. (2012). Gender equality and social dialogue: An annotated bibliography. Geneva: ILO. Retrieved from
  61. Jordaan, B., & Cillie, G. (2015). Building a collaborative workplace culture: A South African perspective. In P. Elgoibar, L. Munduate, & M. Euwema (Eds.), Building trust and constructive conflict management in organizations. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  62. Kelly, J. (1998). Rethinking industrial relations. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Kim, Y. H., & Kim, D. O. (2012) Trust and employment relations: A workplace-level analysis. Paper presented to 16th ILERA World Congress, 2012. Retrieved from:
  64. Kirton, G., & Healy, G.(2008). Women and trade union leadership: Overview of UK context. Retrieved from:
  65. Kirton, G., & Greene, A. M. (2005). Gender, equality and industrial relations in the ‘New Europe’: An introduction. European Journal of Industrial Relations, 11(2), 141–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Kochan, T. A. (2008). Conclusion: The future of industrial relations, a.k.a. work and employment relations. In C. J. Whalen (Ed.), New directions in the study of work and employment. Revitalizing industrial relations as an academic enterprise (pp. 225–236). Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
  67. Koenig, A. M., Eagly, A. H., Mitchell, A. A., & Ristikari, T. (2011). Are leader stereotypes masculine? A meta-analysis of three research paradigms. Psychological Bulletin, 137(4), 616–642.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. Korsgaard, M. A., Schweiger, D. M., & Sapienza, H. J. (1995). Building commitment, attachment, and trust in strategic decision-making teams: The role of procedural justice. The Academy of Management Journal, 38(1), 60–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Kramer, R. M., & Tyler, T. (Eds.). (1996). Trust in organizations. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  70. Larkin, M. B., Bernardi, R. A., & Bosco, S. M. (2012). Board gender diversity, corporate reputation and market performance. The International Journal of Banking and Finance, 9(1), 1–26.Google Scholar
  71. Latu, I. M., Schmid, M. M., Lammers, J., & Bombari, D. (2013). Successful female leaders empower women’s behavior in leadership tasks. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49, 444–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Liff, S. (2003). The industrial relations of a diverse workforce. In P. Edwards (Ed.), Industrial relations: Theory and practice (2nd ed., pp. 420–446). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
  73. Lim, L. L., Ameratunga, S., & Whelton, C. (2002). Promoting gender equality: A resource kit for trade unions. Geneva: ILO. Retrieved from
  74. Metz, I., & Kulik, C. (2014). The Rocky Climb: Women’s advancement in management. In S. Kumra, R. Simpson, & R. J. Burke (Eds.), Handbook of gender in organizations (pp. 175–199). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  75. Millward, N., Bryson, A., & Forth, J. (2000). All change at work? British employment relations 1980–1998, as portrayed by the Workplace Industrial Relations Survey series. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  76. OECD. (2015). Indicators of Gender Equality in Employment. Retrieved from:
  77. Olney, S., Goodson, E., Maloba-Caines, K., & O’Neill, F. (2002). Gender equality: A guide to collective bargaining. Geneva: ILO.Google Scholar
  78. Parker, J., & Foley, J. (2010). Progress on women’s equality within UK and Canadian trade unions: Do women’s structures make a difference? Relations Industrielles, 65(2), 281–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Pissarides, C., Garibaldi, P., Olivetti, C., Petrongolo, B., & Wasmer, E. (2003) Women in the labour force: how well is Europe doing? Unpublished. Retrieved from:
  80. Plantenga, J., & Remery, C. (2006). The gender pay gap—origins and policy responses. A comparative review of 30. European countries. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. Retrieved from
  81. Pritchard, R. D., Dunnette, M. D., & Gorgenson, D. O. (1972). Effects of perceptions of equity and inequity on worker performance and satisfaction. Journal of Applied Psychology, 56(1), 75–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Robbins, S., & Judge, T. (2014). Essentials of organizational behavior (Twelfth edn). Upper Saddle River: Pearson.Google Scholar
  83. Rousseau, D., Sitkin, S., Burt, R., & Camerer, C. (1998). Not so different after all: A cross-discipline view of trust. The Academy of Management Review, 23(3), 393–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Schein, V. E. (1973). The relationship between sex role stereotypes and requisite management characteristics. Journal of Applied Psychology, 57(2), 95–100.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  85. Sidanius, J., & Pratto, F. (2001). Social dominance: An intergroup theory of social hierarchy and oppression. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  86. Streets, S., & Major, D. (2014). Gender and careers: Obstacles and opportunities. In S. Kumra, R. Simpson, & R. J. Burke (Eds.), Handbook of gender in organizations (pp. 293–312). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  87. Torres, J., Matus, M., Calderón, F., & Gómez, A. (2008). Sesgo de género en la negociación colectiva de medidas de conciliación. El caso andaluz. [Gender bias in collective bargaining of work–life balance measures. The Andalusian case]. Revista del Ministerio de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales, 71, 197–209.Google Scholar
  88. Van Emmerik, H., Wendt, H., & Euwema, M. (2010). Gender ratio, societal culture, and male and female leadership. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 83(4), 895–914.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Waddington, J. (2011). European works councils: A transnational industrial relations institution in the making. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  90. Wajcman, J. (2000). Feminism facing industrial relations in Britain. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 38(2), 183–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Wildschut, T., Pinter, B., Vevea, J. L., Insko, C. A., & Schopler, J. (2003). Beyond the group mind: A quantitative review of the interindividual-intergroup discontinuity effect. Psychological Bulletin, 129(5), 698–722.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leire Gartzia
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alejandro Amillano
    • 2
  • Josune Baniandrés
    • 1
  1. 1.Deusto Business SchoolBilbaoSpain
  2. 2.Faculty of Psychology and EducationUniversity of DeustoBilbaoSpain

Personalised recommendations