We'll Call You If We Need You
Experiences of Women Working Construction
Susan Eisenberg began her apprenticeship with Local 103 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in 1978, the year president Jimmy Carter set goals and timetables for the hiring of women on federally assisted construction projects and for the inclusion of women in apprenticeship programs. Eisenberg expected not only a challenging job and the camaraderie of a labor union but also the chance to be part of a historic transformation, social and economic, that would make the construction trades accessible to women.
That transformation did not happen. In this book, full of the raw drama and humor found on a construction site, Eisenberg gracefully weaves the voices of thirty women who worked as carpenters, electricians, ironworkers, painters, and plumbers to examine why their numbers remained small. Speaking as if to a friend, women recall their decisions to enter the trades, their first days on the job, and their strategies to gain training and acceptance. They assess with thought, passion, and twenty years' perspective the affirmative action efforts. Eisenberg introduces this new edition with a preface that shows how things have changed and how they have stayed the same since the book’s original publication. She ends with a discussion of the practices and policies that would be required to uproot gender barriers where they are deeply embedded in the organization and culture of the workplace.
Susan Eisenberg is a poet, visual artist, oral historian, licensed electrician, and Resident Artist/Scholar at the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center. She is also curator of the online exhibition, On Equal Terms: gender and solidarity. Her most recent book Stanley’s Girl: Poems. She is also author of We'll Call You If We Need You. Visit susaneisenberg.com for more information.
The fiercely lyrical poetry of Stanley’s Girl is rooted in Susan Eisenberg’s experience as one of the first women to enter the construction industry and from her decades gathering accounts of others to give scaffolding to that history. Eisenberg charts her own induction into the construction workplace culture and how tradeswomen from across the...
Poems from the Construction Site
Poems in this volume bring readers through the construction site gate alongside the women who practice a skilled trade in a dangerous industry. Assured and impassioned, the poems not only manifest outer events and day-to-day realities of the worksite...