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Celebrating International Women’s Day by Sherry Holmes
By Sherry Holmes
Friday, March 6th, 2020 @ 11:03am
March 8th is International Women’s Day where we highlight and recognize the achievements of girls and women. This year’s theme is Each for Equal – and equal world means a world that’s healthier and more cohesive. I can’t think of anything better.
I love seeing companies, groups, and organizations taking this as an opportunity to highlight what they are doing to support gender equality and empower women.
Being in the trades is not an easy career, for anybody. It requires long hours and hard work, and I personally find it tough to balance work and family life. But it is also very rewarding.
It’s important to take steps to encourage women to join the trades. I love seeing Try A Trade days, local community efforts like Habitat for Humanity Women Build, and everything Skills Canada and Skills USA does to raise awareness of the trades as a viable career. The second part (and equally as important) is providing support systems and mentorship opportunities to women already in the trades. That’s why I love working with 3M. They have made and continue to make substantial efforts to support the skilled trades and gender parity. They offer many corporately directed and employee driven programs, and I wanted to highlight some of them.
Building a Diverse Workforce
When I joined my dad’s crew, there weren’t a lot of women doing what I was doing. This was an opportunity for me to prove something to myself and to the construction crew. I am fortunate to work with my dad, who was my mentor, teacher, and biggest champion on the job site. If I didn’t have him, I would have definitely hesitated to ask questions.
3M recognizes the importance of well-trained science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) graduates as well as the critical need for a skilled workforce in advanced manufacturing and vocational skills. They understand that the bright minds they attract will help the company and their customers solve future challenges. One of 3M’s sustainability goals for Education and Development is to double the pipeline of diverse talent in management to build a diverse workforce. 3M has even joined companies around the world to support the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles.
To read more about 3M’s inclusive culture, take a look at their website.
Promoting Gender Equality in the Workplace
“There is a strong business case for corporations to promote gender equality and ensure women are present at every stage of the innovation process. At 3M we believe we must attract and develop leaders at every level of the organization to accelerate the inclusion and advancement of women globally to reflect our customers and markets and grow our business. Increasing women and diversity in every region in which we operate is a core part of 3M’s Sustainability strategy. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it’s also good business.” – Chrissy Bell, Global Strategy Manager at 3M and Current WLF Chair
“3M’s Women’s Leadership Forum supports technical women by addressing employee retention, recruiting talent, and helping to foster a robust pipeline by supporting youth in STEM. At 3M, our scientists value letting individuals decide where their passions lie and encouraging their career interests.” Sue Woulfe, Ph.D., Sr. Laboratory Manager at 3M.
I recently spoke with Ving about Women In Safety in the video below.
Supporting organizations that highlight the skilled trades
My dad and I have done a lot of work to support Skills Canada, Skills USA, and their chapters. This is important to us because it gives the youth a chance to think about pursuing the skilled trades. When we partner with a brand or company, it is important for us to know about the organizations that they support. It shows a lot about the kind of company they are.
3M supports SkillsUSA and WorldSkills because they recognize the importance of creating connections and exposing the 3M brand to the next generation of skilled laborers. I love this because I’ve heard many times from women that they never even considered a career in the skilled trades because they were never exposed to it.
Last year we brought two new apprentice tradeswomen to our Make It Right construction crew. Tricia and Bailey were both part of the Women In Skilled Trades (WIST) program at Conestoga College – and came in when I was too pregnant to be spending much time on a job site.
What I love about Tricia’s story, particularly, is that she’s a woman who had a career as a bartender, was a mom – and then decided to go back to school later on in life to learn a trade and become a carpenter. Stories like hers show that it’s never too late to pick up a trade.
We sat down and had a chat about what it’s like to be a woman in the trades. You can watch it below.
3M was the lead sponsor of the 2019 WorldSkills USA team, selected and trained by SkillsUSA. This sponsorship supported the efforts of the 23 competitors and their technical experts as they trained to represent the United States at WorldSkills™.
To learn more about International Women’s Day and the hashtag for the year #EachForEqual, visit the International Women’s Day website. I am looking forward to all the social media activities on March 8th!