Photograph from NEW's letter, A Quarterly Newsletter from Nontraditional Employment for Women, Fall 2003. |
Angela Olszewski is a 1999 graduate of Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW) and the first woman placed in the Bricklayer's Union Local 7 by NEW. The photo shows her representing her union at the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department's annual legislative conference, discussing the need to increase the number of women in the construction trades with Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY). She speaks about the barriers and the benefits women still face:
NEW (Nontraditional Employment for Women) has been around for 25 years, but unfortunately the obstacles and conditions which prevent women from entering and succeeding in these careers still exist. Many of the men that I work with have family in the construction business, who provide significant assistance to their entry into the trades and allow them to bypass some of the formal requirements. However, few women are able to enter the trades this way – their path is often much more difficult.
In the summer of 2001, my International union participated in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival here in Washington D.C. We demonstrated our crafts while people stepped forward to ask questions about it. I was so proud to be there, because I showed every little girl who passed by, one more choice in her life.