Shannon Horner, Steelworker in Ontario.

For women workers in the steel industry and all heavy industry, health and safety is one of the main concerns. It's a male dominated environment and sometimes it is not up to the times in terms of the inclusion of women workers in health and safety plans. We are working towards solutions but it's a slow moving train. I think that women provide great value, are an incredible asset in industrial settings. We bring different viewpoints to this kind of industry and provide good role models for our daughters and our sisters.

One of the things that concerns women workers is humanizing the industry and the world. We have some different perspectives, bring what are called soft skills, to the industry. I'm not saying men don't have soft skills but women do focus more on issues like mental health. The steel industry is not known for being a very nurturing industry but the world needs change, needs humanizing.

Health and safety in industrial settings is complex and there are problems. Health includes mental, emotional and physical; you have to be healthy in all three to be productive and safe. Historically mental and emotional health has not been given high priority. The world is changing and we need to make changes and look at people holistically. Mental health has to be a priority globally. Women are playing an active role in helping humanity evolve, in humanizing society.

I look at the example of how health care workers, who are mostly women, are under-valued although they play a vital role. I am a single mom with four kids including one with complex special needs and I know the value of the health care workers that we turn to in times of crisis, like the pandemic. I think the human spirit is resilient and together we can envision change in the world and bring it about.

This article was published in

March 8, 2021 - No. 14

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