Canadian and U.S. tradeswomen off to India

By Corry Anderson-Fennell

Tradeswomen build bridges – both literally and figuratively. This November, they’ll be doing both during the 2019 Building Bridges Tradeswomen’s Delegation to India.

“We will be meeting with workers, union leaders, policy makers and community advocates, having a hands-on training exchange and learning about India’s industry, and building relationships to help improve the lives of women construction workers around the globe,” explained Katy Rhodes, an electrician with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 213.

Rhodes and Antoniette Yap, a millwright with the Millwrights Machine Erectors and Maintenance Union Local 2736, are among five Canadian tradeswomen who will journey to Kerala, India to try to help women construction workers achieve equality.

Women make up close to 50 per cent of the construction workforce in booming India. However, they are paid just one-third to one-half of what men are paid in the same roles, and they are given the heaviest and most dangerous jobs. Many report to work barefoot or in sandals and have no protective gear.

“I hope to better understand the international industry to support tradeswomen globally,” said Rhodes. “I hope to enhance my leadership skills by following trailblazing giants from North America and India. And I hope to encourage and support these women.”

The cost for the delegation is approximately $3,500 per person. Affiliates wishing to contribute to the fundraising effort can email [email protected]