Building-trades pioneer to give free talk on women in construction

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      A U.S. female pioneer in the construction industry will present a talk on her experiences next week.

      Theresa King, the first female president of the Florida Building and Construction Trades Council, is scheduled to speak at the Hilton Metrotown (6083 McKay Avenue) in Burnaby on Tuesday (October 16) from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

      King will present her story at the invitation of the B.C. Building Trades Council (BCBT), which acts for a dozen provincial construction unions representing painters, engineers, labourers, insulators, electricians, plumbers, and other industry trades. The BCBT women's committee, Build TogetHER B.C., is hosting the talk.

      The event is free and open to all (attendees are requested to RSVP to

      In a release, Build TogetHER B.C. seccretary-treasurer Ashley Duncan—an insulator who recently became Canada's first female vice president of the Heat and Frost Insulators (Local 118)—lauded construction as a vocation. "I can't think of a more rewarding career," Duncan said. "I help build the infrastructure we all use every day, and that is so incredibly satisfying."

      Build TogetHER cochair Julia Ballantyne, a refrigeration mechanic, noted in the release the paucity of women in the trades. "Women represent only about four percent of the skilled construction trades, but with people like Theresa and others paving the way, the only direction that figure can go is up."

      The BCBT website notes steps that its affiliates—many of which fund training schools—are taking to increase that representation: "Employment equity has been a major preoccupation for building trades unions in recent years. In conjunction with employers, they have been able to increase employment of non-traditional sectors of our society. As an example, the recruitment of unprecedented numbers of women and First Nations workers took place during the construction of the Island Highway. The building trades are committed to increase the participation of non-traditional workers in the industry in the years ahead."