BC tradeswomen helping to build bridges in India

Build TogetHER's Katy Rhodes (top) and Antoniette Yap (bottom) are among five Canadian tradeswomen heading to India Nov. 1-14 to build relationships and share their knowledge and experience with tradeswomen in India.

Tradeswomen build bridges – both literally and figuratively.

This November, they’ll be doing a whole lot of 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 improve the lives of women construction workers around the globe,” explains 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 help women construction workers achieve equality. They will take part in a hands-on training exchange with tradeswomen in India, learn about the industry there and ultimately contribute to a global network aimed at improving the lives of women construction workers around the world.

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,” says Rhodes, of what she’d like to gain from the trip. “I hope to enhance my leadership skills by following these trailblazing giants from North America and India, and I hope to encourage and support these women to continue doing what they’re already doing.”

The cost for the delegation is approximately $3,500 per person. Affiliates wishing to contribute to the fundraising effort can email Rhodes directly at kathryn.rhodes.707@gmail.com.

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