Women in Trades Association
Organization profile published 1981

Publisher:  Women in Trades Association Inc., Winnipeg, Canada
Year Published:  1981
Resource Type:  Organization
Cx Number:  CX2257

Although the Women in Trades Association (WIT) was incorporated in late 1978, the idea of a support group such as WIT was sparked by a group of women who first took pre-trades training offered in 1976.

Connexions has published numerous abstracts on the Women in Trades Association.

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This abstract was published in Connexions Digest in 1981:

Although the Women in Trades Association (WIT) was incorporated in late 1978, the idea of a support group such as WIT was sparked by a group of women who first took pre-trades training offered in 1976. Women trained in "non-traditional" fields soon discovered that there were still numerous barriers and deterrants to overcome if they wanted to find work and stay employed. These women gathered together to support themselves and offer help and guidance to other women who were interested in entering the trades.

WIT is a volunteer support group of women and other interested individuals who work together to facilitate the entry of women into training or employment in the trades. It is also an educational group that speaks to interested bodies about women in the trade and growing opportunities for women in these fields.

WIT speaks to governments, unions, businesses, schools, colleges and other educational centers about women in trades and equal opportunities for women. They are financially dependent upon the interim funds available through the Secretary of State Grants Commission and other government project funds like Young Canada Works. It is a non-profit organization and thus it survives through the work of its members and the project funds of granting bodies. Regular membership is open to women in trades or in training. Associate membership is open to anyone interested in supporting the work of WIT.

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This abstract on WIT Winnipeg was published in Connexions Digest in 1981:

Women in Trades Association (W.I.T.) is a support group for women in non-traditional occupations, many of whom W.I.T. consider to be unorganized workers. This organization presently has a staff of three women, each of whom is undertaking special projects. A library of information, pamphlets, research documents and books on women and work (specifically) as well as related information concerned with women and the economy, is being established. Another major project is a fall 1981 conference/workshop on Sexual Harassment in the workplace. Target groups for this workshop include W.I.T. membership, union locals, and groups of unorganized working women such as in restaurants, etc. Along the same lines, preparation of a Career Presentation Program for high schools will begin in January of 1982 with the hiring of two more women. In terms of published documents, none exist to date, however, there is a research project underway which will follow the women who graduate from 3 Pre-Trades for Women Courses (given at Red River Community College in Winnipeg) with the focus being on problems encountered by women in non-traditional occupations, i.e. job discrimination, sexual harassment, problems with apprenticeships, etc. This will be published in a series of papers over the duration of a Canada Community Services Grant. A system of networking with other W.I.T. organizations across Canada has been established in order to better facilitate the work and share common problems and solutions; perhaps a National Newsletter will be produced. W.I.T. is presently developing an extensive file on Affirmative Action programs in Canada and W.I.T. membership will be developing policy statements on topics such as this. Women in Trades Association-Winnipeg is anxious to hear from others who are interested in their work.

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This abstract was published in Connexions Digest in 1982:

WOMEN IN TRADES ASSOCIATION is a volunteer support group of women and men who seek to facilitate the entry of women into training and employment in non-traditional areas. It is a democratic organization which maintains communication with like-minded groups and individuals across Canada. It carries out a variety of educational programmes designed to make women conscious of the opportunities in trades areas, and to create an awareness of the obstacles confronting women who enter these kings of work. Of the 3,000 trades apprentices in Winnipeg this year, only 22 are women. Last year there were only 12. Women working in trades are clearly in a minority situation. WIT lobbies for affirmative action, supporting women as an essential part of the Canadian economy.

Two resources produced by WIT are:

1. Working Women (3/4 in videotape, colour, 27 minutes):
Women Working demonstrates that trades are not "non-traditional" occupations for women, especially
for women on farms and during times of war. Interviews with high school women indicate that most have not considered trades careers, but most of their male counterparts are open to the idea of women working in trades. The programme eliminates many of the stereotypes about why women work in trades and demolishes the idea that being a woman by definition disqualifies one from work in trades areas.

2. Sexual Harrassement - An Education Kit:
"Sexual harrassment in the workplace should not be ignored in the hope that it will disappear....Experience shows that sexual harrassment will only intensify if it is ignored or shrugged off....If you are sexually harrassed, your response should be immediate and direct...." Beginning from this perspective, Sexual Harrassment - An Educational Kit provides a ready fund of information on what consitutes sexual harrassment, how to counter it, how to involve your union and employer, what your legal rights are and where to obtain useful education resources and support services. Developed for the WOMEN IN TRADES ASSOCIATION'S March 1982 conference on sexual harrassment, the kit explores women's position in the workforce and tradition sex roles. It notes the effects of this kind of harrassment on women's health, job performance, and self-esteem. Feminist ethics in the workplace are discussed, the experience of a female construction worker in combatting sexual oppression is documented and several myths related to sexual harrassment are exploded.

Memberships in WIT are avialable to tradeswomen at $5 per year. Associate memberships are open to tradesmen and others at $10 per year.

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This abstract was published in Connexions Digest in 1983:

WOMEN IN TRADES is a collective association consisting of tradeswomen and students as well as supporting and interested indivduals. The association points out that the continuing use of computer technology will cause millions of women currently working in 'traditional' jobs to be displaced by machines within the next few years. Thus, women need access to work from which they have traditionally excluded. 'Access' would include non-dicriminatory career counselling and increased opportunities for training as well as affirmative action programmes in hiring and apprenticeships.

WOMEN IN TRADES actively encourages women to enter jobs in areas considered to be 'non-traditional' and provides personal support and increased contact among women isolated in such jobs. Members are involved both educationally and politically to ensure that women are provided with the necessary training and equal employment opportunities to enable them to enter non-traditional fields.

The association holds regular meetings for its members and all interested women. While speakers are often invited and films shown on a variety of relevant topics, the emphasis of the meetings remains on learning from and supporting one another. WOMEN IN TRADES has a pool of women willing to serve as speakers or resource persons and publishes a bi-monthly newsletter, a pamphlet and a resource guidebook -- thus providing information on jobs and training opporunities in non-tradiitonal fields.

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This abstract regarding the WIT Associations of B.C. was published in Connextions Digest in 1983:

WOMEN IN TRADES OF B.C. (WIT) is a non-profit organization founded in 1979 by a group of tradeswomen. WIT provides support and information on employment and training opportunities for women interested in non-traditional jobs. It uses workshops and information meetings to encourage women in similar situation to work together to improve living. WIT has participated in developing new training programs for women, and is active in promoting a greater representation and a more positive image of women in trades.

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