The Delegation is landing! Folks will be arriving today through Tuesday. The Boston group has been delayed and after spending an extra day in Amsterdam will be here early Tuesday morning.
Electrician Noreen Buckley arrived last Monday night and spent the week with me in Mumbai. She kicks off the Tradeswomen’s Posts with her thoughts this morning.
From Noreen Buckley, San Francisco, IBEW Local 6, Apprentice:
India is fast and full of movement. People, traffic; all doing something and going somewhere.
I was able to find the rhythm of Mumbai and jump in, traveling to the four corners of the area. One day at Sanjay Gandhi National Park in the north, the next in the shopping district of Bandra in the west, down to the docks of Mumbai in the south and always returning east to Tata Institute, where I called home for a week.
In my 5 days of travels I had 4 separate experiences of women construction workers.
The big one was Vrishali, a female Electrician that Susan met by chance while looking for a lamp. Vrishali has been in the field for 25 years. She started as a helper in a manufacturing plant and through passion, worked her way up to become an electrician.
Roadwork was the main construction I encountered and had one sighting of tradeswomen doing labor work. Transporting dirt and rock from a trench being dug. Two women on the site, each were working in tandem with a man. The man was explained to me as being a husband, brother, uncle, etc.
While exiting the train station in center city Mumbai, there were two women workers on break. They were wearing orange safety vests doing some interior construction on a closed store inside the station.
Lastly, while waiting for a bus in the national park, I chatted with a local woman (a self identified housewife) who was showing her parents the area.
Sharing the reason for my visit to India, I asked if she personally knew any women that worked in construction, she said “No.” Adding, “that is a poor persons job. Uneducated, desperate for money. Not a good things for women.”
The delegation arrives today and I am looking forward to learning more about the Indian tradeswomen and the community that supports them.