Union of Health and
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Women’s History Month: Women in Our Union

This October the Union of Health and Environment Workers is celebrating Women’s History month. Each year Canadians from across the country join together to acknowledge the many contributions that women have made in every field from science to politics and medicine to literature and culture. Women’s History Month started in 1992 when a group of women led by historian Lyn Gough, Kathy Blasco and Katherine (Kay) Armstrong among others worked to have a public acknowledgement and commemoration on October 18, which was the anniversary of a court case known as the Persons Case. That case established that Canadian women were eligible to be appointed the Canadian Senate and had the same rights as Canadian men with respect to positions of political power.

Today it is celebrated in many different ways including reading read about the notable women in the country’s history and learning about their contributions to fields such as literature. There are many events held across Canada including showing of historical films and videos and there are often special exhibits about the great contributions made by Canadian women. People share them and their projects on social media using the hashtag #WomensHistoryMonth.

While we still have a long way to go to true equality, especially in the workplace, this is a good time to look and reflect on how far we’ve come. This year we asked some of our union leaders a couple of questions. They were: Why do you volunteer time with the Union? Why do you feel that is important for women to be involved in your Union?

Here’s what we heard back:

“As a public servant occupying a position in technology which was largely deemed as a “man’s job”, I was often overlooked when wanting to share my knowledge. I decided that if I wanted change, that I would have to bring it. I became more active by learning my rights. Women need to learn their rights, build their confidence to stand strong against ill behaviours, and the union can help do that.”

Diane Girouard
Regional Vice President (National Capital Region)

“I feel it is important for women to be involved in the union so that their perspectives and experiences are included in the policies of the workplace, union and society in general. UHEW represents many women in locals and cannot do that effectively without their voices at the table.”

Richard May
Regional Vice President (British Columbia-Yukon)

“I have always tried to help others.  Sharing info, lending a helping hand and eventually standing up in support of a person when they need someone to have their back.  All women should be involved in their union because together we are stronger and have a louder voice in order to make the changes needed for a better life for everyone.”

Faye Kingyens
Regional Vice President (Manitoba)

“Having women involved in our union brings balance and valuable perspective to the conversations that move out organization forward.”

Marc Blanchard
Regional Vice President (New Brunswick-Nova Scotia)

“Volunteering gives you a voice to make change. I am very passionate about helping others and want to make a positive difference in the lives of others. We need more women in leadership roles.  Women must be given equal opportunities and treated fairly no matter their gender.  More importantly we must be given equal pay for the work we do, and to stop the discrimination and to fight for the racial inequalities that women face.”

​Darlene Lewis
Regional Vice President (Alberta-British Columbia)

“I volunteer time with the Union because I am a strong voice to go against management, who will hold them accountable for their actions, and ensure no one is left without support during a stressful time. It is important for women to be involved in our Union because involvement in the union makes our union stronger today and in the future.”

Karla Levangie-Connor
Regional Vice President (Atlantic)


For me as National President of UHEW I know that a woman’s place is in their union. The Union of Health and Environment Workers needs more women to step up and take their rightful leadership roles within the Union at the local, regional and national levels. The more women leaders we have the stronger we can become.

Help us build UHEW together!!

In solidarity

Shimen Fayad


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