Marty Warren statement for March 8, International Women's Day

Happy International Women’s Day!

2017 is a special year for District 6 because it is the thirtieth anniversary of the creation of the Women of Steel program here in this district.

Thirty years ago, then District 6 director Leo Gerard understood the political issues of the day and was sensitive to the demands of the women’s movement. He assigned staff representative Michael Lewis the task of establishing the first district women’s committee in our union, as a way to encourage area councils and locals to also set up women’s committees. Soon after, it was clear that our union needed a course for women, designed and facilitated by women, to ensure that sisters could gain the confidence and skills to take on leadership roles. And the Women of Steel leadership development course was born.

Back in 1987, Leo and Michael anticipated backlash from union brothers who weren’t sure why the Women of Steel program was necessary. But these union leaders lead, responding to the complaints, not backing down. And sisters stepped up.

I want to celebrate this proud history of developing women’s leadership in our union. District 6 will hold a Women of Steel district conference July 23-25 in Toronto. It will be an opportunity to remember our past and organize for the future. Watch for more details, and make plans within your local union to send sisters to this important event.

In solidarity,

Marty Warren
Director, District 6

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