Winlaw's Marcia Braundy launches a book Saturday at the Vallican Whole that looks at gender relations in the trades

Retooling views on women in trades

In 1980, Marcia Braundy became the first woman to join the Carpenters’ Union in BC.

In 1980, Marcia Braundy became the first woman to join the Carpenters’ Union in BC.

She did a four-year apprenticeship, sat on labour task forces, and was national co-ordinator for a women in trades network that tried to get more women involved in industry — all of which gave her special insight into on-the-job gender relations.

“I have a very unique and broad perspective on initiatives to increase the participation of women and the resistance and impedance they have encountered along the way,” she says.

For all of the equity initiatives, Canadian women still account for less than three per cent of all tradesworkers. Braundy wanted to know why.

The Winlaw resident did a PhD dissertation based in part on a group interview with four tradesmen that she turned into a short play and has now published as a book, Men & Women and Tools: Bridging the Divide, to be launched Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Vallican Whole.

Braundy’s play took dialogue directly from her two-hour interview with a mechanic, machinist, and two carpenters, who were asked about male resistance to women in trades.

“The thoughts, ideas, words and statements that came out of that interview were so vital, representative, and heartrendingly provocative that I decided it was not up to me to interpret what was being said, but I did need to reflect it back,” she says. “In the process I hoped to develop an emotional understanding of the issues from all sides.”

The play was performed at the Brave New Play Rights Festival at the University of BC, and the script is included in the book. Braundy says while she cleaned up the speech, she didn’t change anyone’s words. Nor did she steer the open-ended talk in any particular direction.

“It’s heartfelt, meaningful, and there’s not a mean bone in the discussion. But the ideas have a quality of misogyny — patriarchal privilege that needs to be deconstructed.”

The men, who ranged in age from 34 to 56, were of similar minds. Braundy found it more fascinating than discouraging.

“I took each line of the play and looked at it historically, sociologically, and psychologically,” she says. “How they could come to these words? Because I am one of them, they were all willing to be who they were. And because I am one of them, I have the right to examine that culture, and challenge them.”

The men, whom she drew from her wider pool of acquaintances, were chosen for their trades and willingness to talk, but she didn’t know what they were going to say.

Those who later saw the play didn’t recognize themselves in it.

“One guy said ‘Wow, this should be shown on the worksite.’ Even with men who see themselves as progressive, their actions are sometimes not so progressive. You see their internal struggle with their training and socialization and habits.

“They’re fine men, who I respect. But these are the words that came out of their mouths, even when they thought they were being progressive.”

Braundy further explores the roots of male resistance. Among the underlying themes she identified: the need to be essential, to be in control, to be the breadwinner, and a deep fear of being asked to change.

The book then asks about finding a resolution. Here, Braundy is optimistic.

“I think the culture has changed to give men a little more willingness,” she says. “I think the book is coming out at a good time.”

Just Posted

David Hogg named Nelson’s 2018 Citizen of the Year

Hogg has led the Kootenay Kiltie Pipe Band for 30 years

Two missing in Pend d’Oreille crash

A 15-year-old male and 18-year-old female both from Fruitvale are missing and presumed deceased

Judge: Nelson not liable for snowbank injury

A woman sued the city after injuring herself in 2015

Beaver Valley Nitehawks oust Nelson Leafs from playoffs

The Nitehawks eliminate number-1 division seed Nelson Leafs from playoffs with Game-6 victory

SIP Talks return to highlight dynamic Kootenay women

Seven women will speak about their experiences at this year’s event

Defiant vigil starts healing in New Zealand after massacre

Police say the gunman in the shooting that killed 50 acted alone

Nearly 40% of British Columbians not taking their medications correctly: poll

Introduction of legal cannabis could cause more issues for drug interactions

Mining company fined $70,000 after two workers killed in B.C. truck crash

Broda Construction pleaded guilty to failing to provide safe workplace at Cranbrook rock quarry

B.C. poverty plan combines existing spending, housing programs

Target is to lift 140,000 people out of poverty from 2016 level

B.C. argues it cannot stop Trans Mountain, but it can protect environment

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says only Ottawa has the authority to decide what goes in trans-boundary pipelines

Avalanche warning issued for all B.C. mountains

Warm weather to increase avalanche risk: Avalanche Canada

Temperature records dating back to 1947 broken in B.C.

The Squamish airport recorded the hottest temperature in the province (and Canada) on Sunday: 21.3 C

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick retires in wake of SNC-Lavalin case

Jody Wilson-Raybould accused Wernick of pressuring her to head off criminal charges for the firm

Dutch tram shooting suspect arrested, say police

Police say three people were killed in the shooting Monday and five wounded

Most Read