- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Categories: Blog, Feature
March 8th was/is International Women’s Day and this year the Welsh Government has allocated £33,343 for celebrations in Wales.
Here in the Ammanford site of Coleg Sir Gâr we have young women pursuing courses in the skills needed in the Construction industry. If you only read the national tabloids, you would get the impression that only incomers from eastern Europe are filling our skills shortage.
In Wales we are showing that women can become plumbers, bricklayers and electricians if they have the motivation and the means of acquiring the necessary skills. I set up the Women in Construction interactive website to help people find opportunities, with links to local colleges and support for young women thinking about the career opportunities that construction can offer.
Around three quarters of working women in Wales are still found in just five occupations – the five ‘c’s – cleaning, catering, caring, cashiering and clerical. There is nothing wrong with those occupations, but there is so much more that the world can offer. The proportion of women working in construction is just 1%!
Later this year, we shall have the excitement of the Olympic Games. The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff will be one of the venues for the Women’s Football tournament. The Olympics is the pinnacle of the women’s game. If you want to watch elite level performers, then this is the place to see the world’s top female footballers. Jessica Fishlock from Cardiff is hoping to be in the squad.
Another long-established star of her sport is 31 year old Sarah Thomas from Merthyr who was recently in the Great Britain squad that came second in the Champions Trophy hockey final in Argentina. Sarah has 50 GB caps and scored the crucial opening goal in the 2-0 semi-final victory against Germany. Jazz Carlin, the swimmer from Swansea is another young Welsh woman to watch.
More and more we are starting to recognise the valuable role played by women in our history. The Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board in north Wales reminds us of the Welsh nurse who contributed so heroically to the care of the British soldiers wounded in the Crimean War. In Carmarthen Lady Megan Lloyd George reminds us that famous Welsh families contained women as well as men!
Joyce Watson AM, Mid and West Wales