We Educate, Promote and Celebrate.
We Facilitate Access for Women in the Skilled Trades.
Who We Are
The Washington Women in Trades Association was founded in 1978 by and
for women working in the trades to gather and share information.
What We Do
Washington Women in Trades work matters,
not just to the individual women, but to our whole community.
Washington Women in Trades (WWIT) is a community based, non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization
whose mission is to improve women's economic equity and self-sufficiency through access and
success in high-wage, high-skilled careers in the construction, manufacturing and transportation sector.
This all-volunteer organization has established itself as a group of industry experts who
facilitate connections between the working woman, the ‘wanting-to-be-working’ woman,
prospective employers and government agencies. We have educated students about women in non-traditional
trades through attendance at school career days, participation in community events and conferences.
We have encouraged networking, established scholarships and counseled women
through difficult work issues. Through hard work and partnership, we have had much success.
While we enjoy celebrating that success, we have much more to do toward helping women both attain
and retain high-wage, high-skilled careers.
Unfortunately, the percentage of women in the construction trades is still dismal,
and the need for trained workers is becoming nearly epidemic.
We continue to strive toward equal opportunity and a strong community infrastructure.
Our most publicly visible project is the Washington Women In Trades Career Fair
held every spring at Seattle Center. Essentially an educational tool to introduce young women
and the general public to the trades, the event hosts over 80 exhibitors and has
an attendance of approximately 1,000 students and work-ready women. The fair features
apprenticeship and resource information, hands-on demonstrations, workshops and career opportunities.
The fair was recently dubbed “The Super Bowl of Northwest Career Fairs”!
In 2007, we created a second major event, the Annual Dream Big Dinner, an awards banquet
and all round celebration of Tradeswomen. It’s also the moment when we unveil
the annual “Rosie” calendar, a very special project which features 12 women who worked
as Rosie the Riveters during WWII.
Robin Murphy, Co-Chair
Jo Scherer, Co-Chair
Nettie Dokes, Treasurer
Cathie Jett, Herstorian
Cynthia Payne, Project Manager
Other events and activities of note...
WWIT has been proud to partner with the University of Washington on a study with a focus on women's health and safety in construction. The study is completed and researchers are compiling data. The second part of the project will be to create ways to address issues, particularly with a mentorship program. More info here.
WWIT has participated in The Northwest Women’s Show where we made connections
with a vast variety of women, we co-produced a Women’s History Month Forum at the
Museum of History & Industry, which featured the 2008 Rosie Calendar Girls
and we played a major role in the 1st Annual King County Construction Career Days
event held at the Enumclaw Expo Center.
In an effort to support female apprentices and others who are new to the skilled
trades occupations, WWIT has created a women’s work clothes clearinghouse called “Rosie’s Closet”.
It’s a way for anyone (men or women) interested in donating lightly used work clothing
to be used by someone interested in walking in a similar career path.
We offer occasional seminars, we are available for speaking engagements and mentorship; we have monthly informal Meetups with locations throughout the city of Seattle, and meet reguarly for business meetings.
We are also planning, in the near future, an annual Trades Summer Camp for middle and high school girls.
And as always, we continue to honor and support the legacy of our foremothers, the legendary WWII Rosie the Riveters through our annual calendar project.