Name: Ashleigh Kaliszuk
Position: Crane Operator
Company: IOUE Local 955
What does International Women’s Day mean to you, and why is it important?
To me, it’s a day to celebrate the achievements and advancements of women throughout the decades. It’s important because I wouldn’t be where I am today without the pioneers before me.
The theme this year is #ChooseToChallenge; how will you help forge a gender equal world?
I will continue to write about women in male-dominated fields. I won’t stop initiating those hard conversations and promoting awareness whenever possible.
When it comes to your current role in the broader construction sector, what are the biggest challenges and opportunities?
The biggest challenge is regarding gender bias, sometimes missing out on larger tonnage cranes and leadership roles. Often, a male with less experience will occupy those roles.
How can we encourage more women to pursue a career in the broader construction sector?
I feel it’s essential to promote careers in construction to younger audiences. When I was in high school, I never thought that being a skilled tradeswoman was an option.
What advice would you give to any young women thinking about starting their career in the broader construction sector?
I would encourage any woman considering a career in construction to look into their local start-up programs. There are many initiatives out there giving women a chance to try multiple trades, allowing them to get a taste of everything and see what might be a good fit.
What will success look like for you at the end of the year? What will make you think that 2021 has been a successful year for you career-wise?
I have an upcoming career shift (still in construction), and so my 2021 has already started as a massive success. Stay tuned for the big announcement coming end of March!