International Women’s Day: Gender equality in the workforce

Jane Hall reads from their memoirs at They Went Whistling: Women Working in a Man's World on Saturday March 8.
Jane Hall reads from their memoirs at They Went Whistling: Women Working in a Man’s World on Saturday March 8.
Photo by Megan Bobetsis

Four women spoke about their journeys to find inner strength while working in male-dominated fields in celebration of International Women’s Day last Saturday.

The Vancouver Public Library hosted the event, They Went Whistling: Women Working in a Man’s World. Kate Braid, Sylvia Taylor, Sue Doro and Jane Hall each read from their memoirs about their experiences working in fishing, construction, machinery and the RCMP.

Changes they made

Doro would wear baggy clothes to her job as a machinist, to take away from her femininity and prove she could do the job as well as any man.

“You learn how to do your job better than all of them because you have to, to just stay equal,” Doro said.

When Braid began her career in construction in 1977, she had never heard the word “apprenticeship.”

“They don’t say that to girls in 1977 and I don’t think they say it very much in 2014 either,” Braid said.

Few young women enter trades

“Girls don’t often see [the trades] as a viable career for them, when in fact it actually is,” said Wendy Gilmour, an apprenticeship teacher for the Vancouver School Board.

Taylor said she used writing in a journal as companionship when she worked for five months at a time on a fishing boat.

“Being one of a handful of girls in the entire coast of B.C. was extremely lonely,” Taylor said.

Women’s Day at Langara

Langara’s Oxfam Club hosted a social media booth last week in anticipation of Women’s Day and to bring awareness to their 2014 theme of “Equality for women is progress for all.”

“If women are able to be in all the same positions as men and making the same decisions as men, it just means that human rights are being protected across the board,” said club liaison Leilani Reum.

Reported by Megan Bobetsis 




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