Boston – An event on Oct. 28 marked the largest-ever gathering of women construction workers in Boston, as over 1,000 union tradeswomen congregated to celebrate the progress achieved in promoting inclusivity and diversity within the union construction industry.
Women Build Boston was established in 2022 with a mission to empower and unite women in construction. The event welcomed women of all skill levels engaged in the building trades across New England, as well as their allies. Jenaya Nelson, a 26-year member of Laborers Local 223, expressed the sentiment, saying, “We are not only building our skyline; we are also building our labor movement.”
Darlene Lombos, the executive secretary-treasurer of the Greater Boston Labor Council (GBLC), emphasized the remarkable growth of this collective effort, stating, “What started as a small group of us has grown into a sisterhood of solidarity for thousands of Boston tradeswomen. Last year, we were making history. This year, we’re blazing the trail and letting everyone see how the power of sisterhood can be a major force for change.”
Chrissy Lynch, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, highlighted the common values that unite the participants, saying, “We all share the same values; we want to build the middle class. We want an economy that works for everyone, not just the rich and powerful. We’ve got to fight for new laws that help working people. The labor movement fights for the dignity of everyone.”
Beyond networking, the conference offered attendees the opportunity to cultivate their leadership skills through breakout sessions covering mentorship, leadership, financial literacy, and mental health.
The number of women in construction reached an unprecedented high of 14.3% last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with a consistent upward trend since 2016. In a show of support, public approval of unions has reached a 60-year high, standing at 71%. Boston surpasses the national average in percentage of women in trade apprentices by more than threefold.