Celebrating 30 Years of Women of Steel

2017 marks 30 years since Women of Steel began in District 6 and we are celebrating with a D6 Women’s conference July 23-25 in Toronto.

The Women of Steel program began as a way to support women’s involvement and leadership within our union. Women of Steel was created in District 6, but has since spread across our union and continues to break down workplace barriers, encourage women’s participation in union activities and develop leadership.

Soon after the Women of Steel program began in 1987, a committee of Steelworker women worked with a course designer to create a leadership development course. It was designed by women, facilitated by women, for only women participants. The goal: “Women will leave this course with a better understanding of the union and the situations women face.”

The course was piloted in Toronto, Sudbury and Winnipeg in 1990-91. Over the years, Women of Steel: Developing Leadership has been responsible for linking hundreds of individual Women of Steel with leadership roles inside the union and beyond. And we’ve added a second course, USW Women’s Committees: Leading Together.

Learn more about the history of Women of Steel: www.usw.ca/womenofsteel.

In 2017, we are proud to recognize 30 years of Women of Steel with our District 6 Women’s conference: Time for HERstory. We will highlight the accomplishments of our Women of Steel, look at how we have overcome challenges and plan for the future of our union. The conference will include panels, workshops, interactive theatre and a social event on Monday evening.

We welcome new and experienced activists and reflect on our past while building and strengthening our union for the future.

This article appears in the Summer 2017 edition of News@6 magazine.

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