More than 1,600 tradeswomen representing various crafts in the building and construction industries attended the 2017 Women Build Nations (WBN) conference last week in Chicago to raise awareness and build support for tradeswomen.

The conference provided tradeswomen a platform to address every day challenges and learn about opportunities to advance their careers. It offered a workshops to build collective knowledge to ensure equal opportunities for tradeswomen to succeed and lead in the construction industry. The workshops covered a range of topics including recruitment and retention, leadership development, safety, politics, policies affecting tradeswomen and issues beyond the tools.

The conference also celebrated recent victories in the movement to improve diversity and inclusion. The Iron Workers (IW) took center stage at the conference with its groundbreaking paid maternity leave benefit and the recently trademarked “Be that One Guy” campaign to raise awareness about adversities tradeswomen experience based on gender.

The IW introduced the first-ever paid maternity leave benefit in the industry with six months of pre-delivery and six to eight weeks of post-delivery paid maternity leave.

“We are always looking for things a good union and an employer association should do to improve diversity and inclusion, and providing our ironworkers paid maternity leave made sense morally and economically,” said CEO of Ben Hur Construction and co-chair of IMACT Bill Brown.

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