Indian tradeswomen will share their experiences in construction industry Oct. 11 in St. Louis

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INDIAN TRADESWOMEN ADVOCATE Thresiamma Mathew, founder and director of the Archana Women’s Centre in Kottayam, India (right), will share her experiences from her work with tradeswomen from the country that boasts the highest percentage of women in construction in the world on Oct. 11 in St. Louis. Missouri Women in Trades President Beth Barton (left) met Mathew during her visit to India in January. – MoWIT photo

India has the highest percentage of women in construction worldwide

Missouri Women in Trades (MoWIT) is hosting an Oct. 11 meet and greet with two Indian tradeswomen advocates who will share their experiences in the industry from a country that boasts the highest percentage of women in construction in the world.

The event, sponsored by Sisters in the Brotherhood of the St. Louis-Kansas City Regional Carpenters Council and Sheet Metal Workers Local 36, will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Local 36 Grand Hall at 2319 Chouteau Ave. in St. Louis. Drinks and heavy appetizers will be provided.

The two speakers will include:

• Thresiamma Mathew, founder and director of the Archana Women’s Centre in Kottayam, which offers training and courses for women in the building trades.

• Vrishali Pispati, chief executive officer of Mumbai Mobile Crèches, which offers a range of services to children living on construction sites without schools or clinics or safe places to play.

“We are all really excited to participate in this,” said MoWIT President Beth Barton. “Thresiamma has trained thousands of Indian women to be masons, which is monumental in India where women’s labor is not considered ‘skilled,’ and Vrishali organizes 28 on-site day care centers in Mumbai.”

Barton, a Tarlton superintendent and Carpenters Local 1596 member, traveled to India in January as part of the first U.S. Delegation of Tradeswomen to India to build an international network of support.

The delegation chose India because it has the highest concentration of female construction workers in the world – about 40 percent. In the United States, women make up only about three percent of the construction workforce.

The international journey continues Oct. 9 when Mathew and Pispati will tour St. Louis and meet with union leaders, organizers and construction workers. After the Oct. 11 meet and greet, they will travel with MoWIT to Chicago for the Women Build Nations conference, co-sponsored by the North American Building Trades Unions and Chicago Women in the Trades.

The conference brings together women from multiple construction crafts to build leadership skills, learn strategies for overcoming challenges and unite around common issues.

To RSVP for the Oct. 11 meet and greet, call or text MoWIT at 636-926-6948 or email info@mowit.org.

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