“My trip was eye opening and educational,” that’s just two of the positive comments Antoniette Yap, of Millwrights Local 2736, offered about her trip to Kerala, India. She joined a delegation of US Tradeswomen who traveled there to work with the Archana Women’s Center. The goals of the tradeswomen organization include:
- Building international friendships
- Bringing awareness to women who work in construction all around the world
- Helping women gain equality in all areas of life
Antoniette said she learned, “There is no perfect system and that women around the world share many similarities in our struggle as women in trades.” As for her female counterparts in India, Antoniette saw another similarity: family as well as personal and professional support systems are very important.
While there, the tradeswomen delegation provided hands-on skills training and shared working experiences. They also offered recommendations about the kind of tools and machinery that could provide more of a competitive edge. For Antoniette, these interactions raised her awareness about how fortunate tradeswomen were in Canada and the US. “Unlike our India counterparts, we have access to tools and supplies that can help us do our job better and more efficiently,” she said.
And while there were many positive ways to describe the tradeswomen at the Archana Center, Antoniette used the word “superhuman”; commenting that, “They work in conditions and with equipment that would make my mentors’ jaws drop.”
As for more personal take-aways, Antoniette expressed her joy at being able to fulfill her passion – leadership and finding ways to actively help promote equality in any workplace.