Women in trade: support group formed

April 16, 2018

When I was going to school at the University of Winnipeg and writing for The Uniter, the student newspaper in the late 1978s, it was still very unusual for the mainstream press and media to write about women’s equality issues such as women making inroads into the traditionally male dominated trades.

The student press  ‘ took-up-the-slack’ and wrote about these things in the 1970s and still does even to this day.

Here is one story, I wrote:

The Uniter

Wednesday, October 18, 1978

Women in trade: Support group formed

by Tanya Lester

If you are a woman having trouble finding a job in the trades, W.I.T. is what you need.

Acccording to Shirley Walker, Women In Trades (W.I.T.) president, the group is for women who encounter difficulties in “just getting hired.” It acts as a support system where women can air their problems.

Problems range from discrimination to traditional myths, Sandi Somerville, W.I.T. member, thinks women must stop feeling guilty because they do not want to “stay in the goddamn home.”

W.I.T. was organized in June, 1977 by a group of women who had taken pre-trades courses at Red River Community College (R.R.C.C.). None of the women could even hope to enter a trades course at R.R.C.C. until September, 1977. Employers would not agree to hire them as apprentices. Through grants from the Secretary of State, W.I.T. was formed.

In the future, Walker hopes to see co-ops formed by W.I.T. members. Presently, W.I.T. members Somerville and Jeanne Lyons are share holders in their own renovating carpentry business.

To increase support, W.I.T. members speak at public events like the 1978 “Festival of Life and Learning” at the University of Manitoba. They also are working on an audio-visual kit to aid them in speaking at high schools.

Like any other group, W.I.T. has organizational problems. It is difficult to contact members for meetings. Questionaires sent to members in an attempt to start a job bank were not returned. W.I.T. member Louella Lester feels discussions about relating to men on the job might be helpful at the meetings.

W.I.T. is just over a year old, but already boasts fifty-three regular members and twenty-seven associate members in Winnipeg. It also has members in Ontario and Saskatchewan, and a sister group in Saskatoon will soon be formed. Walker hopes W.I.T will become a national organization to help women in trades across Canada.


Tanya is a psychic with over two decades (at time of this post entry in 2018) of giving 1000s of readings mostly in Canada but also in the USA and in Europe. She is also a Reiki master and a fulltime housesitter. For more go to her web: teareading.wordpress.com and to her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. To book a reading or arrange a housesit,  text/call 250-538-0086 or email: tealeaf.56@gmail.com

Tanya’s books are: Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader, Friends I Never Knew, Dreams and Tricksters as well as Women Rights/Writes. The first two books — non-fiction and a novel of inter-linked stories respectively, can be purchased from the author or from amazon.ca All books are available in some library systems and/or can be transferred to the public library you frequent.

To read more posts in this blog of eclectic themes and genres, go to writingsmall.wordpress.com and tealeaf56.wordpress.com





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