Empowerment. Here at Washington Women in Trades, it’s our middle name (and our first and last names also) For over 40 years, we’ve been committed to providing a conceptual leg up to teenagers just beginning to consider the high paid construction jobs as well as women looking to change careers. We support tradeswomen from apprenticeship through retirement through mentoring, networking and simply providing an educated empathetic ear.
While working with WWII Rosie the Riveters on our now out of print calendars, one of the regular interview questions was: “How did your work during WWII affect your life and the lives of your families?” Of course, we got lots and lots of answers, but one of the most pointed and powerful was: “I was financially able to leave a bad marriage.” Imagine how many women and children were saved from a life of family abuse because as a tradeswoman, a woman could finally AFFORD to hit the road. Financial security allows us a multitude of freedoms…
Here’s one woman’s story: Josie Dunn was a 17-year-old mother working in the cotton fields of Oklahoma when she was recruited by the National Youth Association to work in the war effort. She packed her bag, added some lunches and took a bus to Washington. When she landed at the shipyard in Bremerton, Washington, she was confused. Not only was she afraid of water and heights, she had understood that she was being sent to Washington DC. Josie eventually left Bremerton and settled in for the war as a riveter at Boeing. She riveted for over 40 years.
Because Josie created a financially stable life for herself, she was able to help nearly 100 friends and family leave the poverty of Oklahoma and thrive in the Pacific Northwest.
Empowerment is about the gut knowledge of a job well done. Drive around the city with a tradeswoman. She’ll point out all the projects on which she’s worked. “ I poured cement for that skyscraper.” “I did the rebar on that bridge.” “I repaired the windows in that fire station.”
At Washington Women in Trades it’s not just “We Can Do it”, It’s “When”.
Here’s one of many tradeswoman videos...