Celebrating 25 Years of Women of Steel

Women’s activism and involvement in the union had begun earlier, particularly during the feminist wave of the 1970s and 1980s.

Deirdre Gallagher, a staff representative at the Canadian National Office in the early 1980s, developed Changing Faces of Unionism, a course aimed at breaking down workplace barriers and encouraging women to become active members and leaders of their union. The course would evolve into today’s Women of Steel program and help develop USW women leaders.

Recognizing a lack of women’s involvement in the union compared to its growing female membership, a young Leo Gerard – first as a USW staff rep and later as District 6 Director – encouraged women to get active and change our union. He worked alongside women Steelworkers to address their concerns, such as negotiating the appointment of sexual harassment counsellors in the workplace, and hiring staff and dedicating resources to create the Women of Steel program.

Women activists and leaders across our districts in Canada have shared in the development and growth of our Women of Steel program.

Find out more about the story of Women of Steel by following us on Twitter and Facebook. Each Wednesday, we will profile stories of our heroic sisters who have led the way for women's advancement and leadership in our union, and of our collective fight for women's rights in our workplaces, our collective agreements and the laws of our country.

The United Steelworkers continues our commitment to equality and our belief that unions need women and women need unions. 

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Communications Department - Québec
Clairandrée Cauchy

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