Photo: Ms. Lorraine Archibald, Coordinator of the Gender Affairs Department at the opening ceremony for the Non-Traditional Occupation for Women workshop hosted by the department and the Women in Construction group on March 23, 2021, at the department’s conference room
NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (March 26, 2021) — A cross-section of women with non-traditional occupations on Nevis participated in a Non-Traditional Occupation for Women (NOW) workshop on March 23, 2021. It was hosted by the Ministry of Health and Gender Affairs in collaboration with the Women in Construction group at the department’s conference room.
Ms. Lorraine Archibald, Coordinator of the Gender Affairs Department explained that the session was part of the department’s month of activities throughout March to celebrate International Women’s Day with the theme “Women in Leadership: Choose to challenge.”
“We celebrate all of our women who would have made contributions to our society. It does not matter how small. Today we will be looking at construction. Our women in construction will be the focus for this seminar.
“I believe their objectives are to create leadership programmes; build awareness; provide a positive atmosphere for females to work in construction; to encourage women to share their challenges and successes in the field, and to inspire others to achieve,” she said.
Ms. Archibald acknowledged that construction is a diverse industry that offers a variety of career paths for women.
“You have the drafting of the house, pouring of the materials, excavation of the foundation, bending of the steel, laying of blocks, welding heavy iron frames, laying of tiles, water pipes and electrical pipes, painting, carpentry, and the list goes on. We women can do all of that.
“Ladies, in times like these we need to learn other skills that are more sustainable. Skills that can last a lifetime and are in great demand. Skills that can help to keep food flowing on the table, and skills that will pay well. Men and women can work side by side. The time is right.” she said.
Ms. Archibald urged participants to show off if they are good at something instead of hiding it and to chase whatever benefits it will bring them.
Ms. Shelisa Martin-Clarke, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Gender Affairs who was also present, said women are underrepresented in many occupational groups including those in construction, politics, engineering, science and technology. However, she said times are changing.
“Women this is a call to action to not accept the status quo but instead to push for change. Today, many and women are breaking down barriers to pursue careers that were predominantly occupied by men such as construction. Women are taking up leadership roles in government, in big firms and industries such as the construction industry,” she said
Ms. Martin-Clarke praised those who had chosen to get involved in non-traditional occupations.
“I pause and take this opportunity to applaud those women in our community who choose to challenge the status quo and have taken up careers in areas that are predominantly occupied by men.
“I speak of the Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams; and the Hon. Cleone Stapleton in Politics. Mrs. Daphne Hobson; Camille Kelly, Lileth Haney – Architecture; Caroline Browne; Michelle MacGrath – Engineering; Rianna Cozier – Coast Guard and Welding; and Cindy Wiggins – Painting and Joinery to name a few. Some of these women operate their own businesses and are successful in doing so. The Ministry of Health and Gender Affairs supports you in your efforts as you choose to challenge the status quo. We encourage you to keep pushing for change. Change that would move you forward as an individual and us as a society,” she said.
The facilitators for the workshop were Dr. Daphne Hobson, Architect Historic Preservationist, Ms. Lileth Richards, Architect, and Ms. Caroline Browne, Engineer.