On International Women’s day March 8th, 2024, District 78 held a Women’s Committee training, conducted by the IAM Canada’s Director of Research and Human Rights Representative Ivana Saula.

The attendees that were sisters from district 78 Locals: 1231, 2113, 1295, 907 and 901 were introduced to a wide range of topics from Women’s History in the labour movement and the important role that women in particular played, and how women’s issues have presented themselves over the years, continuing into the present day. There is not enough clarity when it comes to understanding what women’s issues are for some, but knowing what this comprises, can create a clear picture as to the ways in which women shaped unions into organizations we know today. As Ivana Saula eloquently articulates, “Understanding our past allows us to appreciate our progress and understand that some of the issues women fought for have been a battle for as long as women have been part of the workforce.”

Women have always been active members of the workforce and proved that they could be strong allies of the union.

The attendees were provided training on policies pertaining to women’s committees, roles and responsibilities, objectives, how to create an action plan, how to garner interest to get women more involved in committees e.g. talking about what they would like to see on the agendas, issues that can mobilize like employment equity, pay equity, child care, birth control, sexual harassment etc.

Additionally a blue print on how to set up a Calendar for hosting different activities monthly was discussed.

The training was comprehensive and thorough, giving attendees ideas on how to run their women’s committees successfully in the future.

The vision is for Women’s Committees to have more to offer the membership rather than just bake sales and fundraisers, but going forward play an integral role in the union. Keeping this in mind the end goal was to provide training to the sisters to take the knowledge that they received and engage the membership in developing and supporting the women’s committees with their locals. This in turn would broaden the reach of these committees and expand their scope.

Committees are essential to the growth, and development of the Union and have an important role to play in the success of the Union and the wellbeing of it’s membership.