International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements or rally for women’s equality.
Local 110 is seen as being a leader in brining women into the trades and providing gender parity wages through collective bargaining. Currently, Local 110 has the highest percentage of female Membership throughout the Alberta Building Trades, and according to the Alberta Government Insulators have the ninth highest percentage of women as registered apprentices in the Province of Alberta. This all sounds very good until you hear Local 110 has only 17% of our Membership that are women, and Insulator Apprenticeship has 18% women as registered apprentices. Our Union has found that more than sixty percent of women that become registered apprentices do not obtain Journeyman certification.
One of the major obstacles for women in the trades is childcare. Though out Alberta most daycares are not open until 7am and close at 5pm, this makes finding appropriate childcare for someone working a normal ten-hour schedule very difficult. As well when a child gets sick much of the time it is the women that stays home with them. This was very apparent at the start of the COVID Pandemic when our Union saw several Female Members who were in long term maintenance positions take layoffs to accommodate schools being closed, and now some of these women are not taking calls due to the possibility of having to take extended time off if their child gets sick, or has a COVID exposure.
There are countless other obstacles in front of women, both at work and in society. It will take each and everyone of us working together to move our world forward and obtain gender parity. Women’s equality is about making society better as a whole. Change is never easy, but this is positive change that needs to be embraced by everyone.
Our Union has a long way to go, but we will continue to work towards an inclusive work culture for all our Members. I encourage all of our Members to learn more about International Woman’s Day and how you can personally get involved.