Letter to the Editor: Praise, dismay about ‘Trades Woman’ story

To the Editor:

As a recently retired self-employed carpenter, I think it’s great that you gave such prominent coverage to Trades Woman of the Year Ziven Drake.  (3/28 issue, Page 1, above the fold – “Ziven Drake, ‘Trades Woman of the Year,’ has always ‘kind of played with the dudes’”

But I was dismayed that the headline and beginning of the article were about her growing up and working now in all-male environments.  I think this emphasis gives the message that a woman must have this background, and want and expect to be the only woman on the job, in order to (dare to) work in the trades.  That message would tend to discourage many women from choosing a career in construction.

Women need and deserve equal access to high-paying jobs in construction, and need to be encouraged to enter training programs.  The tradeswomen I know are not the only women in their union, apprentice program, or job site; they have the support of other women as well as their unions, and sometimes mentorship programs, in adjusting to the work environment and learning to stand up for themselves.

The Boston Residents Jobs Policy requires that construction projects in Boston hire 12 percent women, 51 percent Boston residents, and 40 percent people of color.  Dorchester women need to be encouraged to enter these careers and help the unions fill these quotas.

Becky Pierce
Codman Square