In male-dominated construction and utilities work, gender equality remains elusive. Less than 3%  of construction workers are women—but for over 30 years, New York city-based non-profit Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW) has challenged this convention by offering training and apprenticeships specifically for women in these two sectors.

Blue-collar jobs typically held by women—in restaurants and retail—often come without job security, benefits, and retirement packages. At its annual awards luncheon June 9 at the Hilton Hotel in Manhattan, NEW honored policymakers, union leaders, and administrators who have implemented or advocated for policies that encourage women to build careers in the construction trades.

Recipients of NEW’s 2011 Equity Leadership Awards include Louise M. Matthews, vice president of global real estate and facilities at Avon Products Inc; Mark Ayers, president of the Building and Construction Trades Dept., AFL-CIO; Christopher Ward, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; and Ana Taveras, NEW graduate and organizing coordinator for the Laborers’ union Eastern region organizing fund.

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NEW Board Member Maxine Finkelstein, NEW graduate and Board Member Monica Harwell, and NEW President Amy Peterson.

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Ana Taveras, the deputy supervisor of Laborers Local 592, was one of four
recipients of NEW's 2011 Equity Leadership Awards. Taveras, a 1995 graduate
of the NEW program, manages membership and contracts for over 500 union
members in New York.