Women’s History Month 2021

Oregon Tradeswomen celebrates and honor the many contributions of women every day, and especially during Women’s History Month and on International Women’s Day, we pause to acknowledge the trailblazing work of women and girls who have pushed to change our nation and our world for the better.

We recognize the women and girls who, despite the barriers and roadblocks of discrimination, courageously and bravely fought for, and continue to fight for:

  • paid family leave and sick leave
  • quality, affordable childcare
  • wage equity and benefits
  • eliminating gender-based violence and jobsite harassment
  • and so much more.

Women and girls who, through persistence and commitment, stand strong in the demands for justice, dignity, and equality.

We celebrate and honor our sisters throughout history and those making history today – especially Black women, Indigenous women, Immigrant women, Trans women, and others from diverse communities are on the front lines of our communities working for a better world for all of us each and every day.

These inspiring, powerful, and passionate women are champions for change, including our sisters in the Tradeswomen Movement. In our recent history, these sisters who paved the way for other women and girls and continue to break the “concrete ceiling” in the construction industry, making the industry better for ALL workers.

Women like:

Portland’s own Donna Hammond, Business Representative at IBEW Local 48 who was one of the first women accepted into the IBEW/NECA apprenticeship program back in 1978 and who is a tireless champion for equity and inclusion in our industry.

Evelyn Shapiro, the first female Executive Secretary-Treasurer to lead the United Brotherhood of Carpenters regional council in the United States and who is leading diversity and equity efforts in her union.

Adrienne Bennett, the first black female master plumber in the U.S. who is now CEO of her own contracting company, Detroit-based Benkari LLC.

Judaline Cassidy, one of the first women to be accepted into Plumbers Local 371 in Staten Island, NY, and the first woman elected to the Examining Board of Plumbers Local No. 1 and founded Tools & Tiaras to inspire girls to be empowered by the trades.

Carolyn Williams, one of the first women to complete Atlanta IBEW Local 613’s apprenticeship program as a journeyman inside wireman and the local’s first woman and person of color to serve as an assistant business manager.

Vicki O’Leary, who at age 21, became an ironworker in Chicago and later went on to become the International union’s General Organizer for Safety and Diversity, where she led the effort for paid maternity leave – the first in the nation’s building trades union, and where she was instrumental in creating “Be That One Guy“, a program to fight jobsite sexual and other harassment.

Pat Williams, trailblazing feminist, and LGBT activist in blue collar trades in Southern California who was one of the first women to enter the Operating Engineers apprenticeship program in Los Angeles in 1979 and later became a District Representative and Vice President of IUOE Local 501.  Pat supports the Tradeswomen Memorial Project at the Long Beach Rosie the Riveter Park and is a co-founder, along with Jamie McMillan, union ironworker of KICKASS Careers.

Sue Doro, creator, and editor of Pride and a Paycheck, the only publication dedicated to tradeswomen and the  Tradeswomen Movement.  Sisters like Molly Martin, Dr. Vivian Price, Dr. Lynn Shaw, and Jane Templin who created the Tradeswomen Archives Project to document and keep the history of tradeswomen’s contributions alive.  Susan Eisenberg, retired IBEW member who became one of the first women in the United States to become a licensed union journey-worker electrician who, for over four decades has advanced issues of tradeswomen through such seminal works as We’ll Call You If We Need You: Experiences of Women Working Construction, which brought the issues of discrimination and exclusion that tradeswomen face daily in the industry.

These women, and so many others, continue to change not only our industry, but our world, for the better. Join us in applauding them, honoring them, and celebrating them.

Join us in acknowledging women’s achievements, raising awareness against bias, and taking action for equality as we continue to work together to forge a better world.

In strength and solidarity,

Kelly Kupcak


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