Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Oh, my blog followers!
Some of you know me personally and have asked, “Why no posts?” To others farther afield, I just faded away and have now reappeared. Let me catch up those who have been most out of touch.
When I returned from India last April, I decided to organize a group of US tradeswomen to return with me on the next trip planned for January 2017. Two weeks after getting home, I flew to Chicago for Women Build Nations, the annual national tradeswomen’s conference.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
I am at Logan. Harneen and Hayden dropped me off and my flight to Mumbai via Amsterdam leaves in 2 hours.
Women Build Nations was so exciting. From several hundred women just a few years ago, last April there were almost 1500 participants in Chicago. I was joined by Fernanda “Nanda” Campos da Cruz Rios, a student from Brazil studying at Arizona State University. One of my research goals is to mentor young feminist scholars who want not to “study” tradeswomen, but to part of building participatory reseach with tradeswomen on the social barriers and strategic solutions to improving women’s access and retention in the skilled trades. Nanda has followed the story of women in Brazil who were part of building the World Cup sites and was planning to do interviews with US and Brazilian tradeswomen as part of her studies. Unfortunately, and shortsightedly, the Brazilian government failed to approve her study. She and I hope that Nanda can become part of the research community supporting tradeswomen internationally in the future.
With Melina Harris, carpenter from Seattle and president of Sisters in the Brotherhood, I offered a workshop at the conference on Transnational Tradeswomen and the issues of women working in construction across the globe. I also had 500 flyers with me advertising the opportunity to be part of the First Delegation of US Tradeswomen to India. I handed the flyers out and put them on tables at the plenary sessions. Honestly, I was not confident that tradeswomen would be interested, but I knew that I was wrong when the “First Delegate,” Marcus McClanahan, Kansas Laborer and tradeswomen, ran up to me with the flyer in her hand and said, “I am going to India with you!” By the end of the conference, I had more than enough interest to fill the Delegation. Getting the tradeswomen was the easy part. The rest of it has been much harder. I never aspired to be a travel agent and as soon as this is over, I am giving up that job forever. India is a complicated country and moving a group of 15 around to 3 cities in 16 days is a lot of work. I will confess that I still don’t know how we are getting around after the first week, but I am sure (kind of) that I will have it figured when it is time to move onto the next site!
More to come soon. You will meet the Delegates. I have asked that each do at least one blog post here. We will be doing lots of social media and send out lots of pictures. I have an idea that we might do some Facebook Live. Please share those things that might interest your circle of friends and thank you for your support of women working in construction in India, the US and the world.