TRADESWOMEN MAGAZINE 1981-1998
A Quarterly Magazine for Women in Blue-Collar Work
Tradeswomen Magazine quarterly, first published in 1981, got its start from a small grant from the DOL and a group of energetic and dedicated volunteers with guidance from Madeline Mixer of the Women’s Bureau.
The Magazine’s objective was to provide women who were working in the trades some networking and support and encourage tradeswomen to tell our story. Issues featured particular crafts and a sense of what the work entailed as well as interviews with workers. The magazine tackled difficult issues through its first person voices: women of color talked of their experience of racism; tradeswomen discussed sexual harassment and how they dealt with it; women spoke of forming support networks; and how to get into an apprenticeship and how to get a job.
The magazine started with Saturday afternoons where volunteers met to put together hand typed articles, cut and paste, retype into column widths, assemble the layout boards and make the headlines with rub-on letters. In 1998, the challenges of funding printing and mailing as well as the effort of collecting articles and putting together copy and layout overwhelmed the all-volunteer corps.
In its later years, the Magazine linked Tradeswomen, Inc. with the work of similar groups in other parts of the country. The Magazine also kept current on subjects like affirmative action and sexual harassment and looked at the legal issues for individual tradeswomen in this evolving arena employment law. Photographer Sandy Thacker kept the pages full of pictures of working women traveling to jobsites for the images.
Today, we remember this effort of love and dedication that without financial resources or staff broke done isolation for women in the trades all across the country in those early days.
The Tradeswomen Quarterly lives on
In May 2014, TWI received an envelope with some 1980’s Tradeswomen magazines issues with a letter. Carmen recounted her journey beginning in 1978 as a union carpenter in Arizona and Southern California and how the Magazine and Tradeswomen, Inc. were her lifeline allowing her to feel a sisterhood. Carmen went on to study Architecture after vesting in her Carpenter’s pension, thus extending her career in construction. Decades later she was now sending us back a few early Tradeswomen Quarterly magazines for our archives and urging us to help new sisters coming into the trades. Carmen also enclosed a donation check saying, “I hope Tradeswomen Inc. is around for many generations to come.”
Tradeswomen Magazine 1981-1998 — Now available on CD
Tradeswomen volunteer, supporter and advocate Pat Williams, OE 501 retired, has scanned every issue of Tradeswomen Magazine and put them on CDs available for sale at tonight’s event. TWI wants to thank Sister Williams for this labor of love and dedication to the tradeswomen community. We will also be making this archive available through Tradeswomen, Inc.
Contact Esther Polk at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.