Women’s History Month is here. Throughout October, we’re celebrating inspiring women throughout history. It’s a time to shine a light on their stories, work and their impact in our communities. Today, we’d like to share about women in The Shipyards.
Before the 1940s, a woman working directly in the shipbuilding area of the Burrard Dry Docks was unheard of. That all changed during World War II. Demand for wartime ships skyrocketed for the Burrard Dry dock, “A ship a week!” to be exact. With men called off to war, a labour shortage threatened ship construction.
The solution? Women. At first the idea was opposed as it was against the patriarchal norms of the time, but necessity pushed the matter and before long the first fourteen women walked onto the yard as passer girls.
Watch Actor-Interpreter and Program Assistant, Chantal Gallant, bring this story to life through our video Women in The Shipyards.
Launching off from our beloved Shipyard Pals story-filled walk, and inspired by oral histories, articles and publications found in the Archives of North Vancouver, this video shares what it was like for the first women working in The Shipyards.
Although a sobering time, World War II did allow women to step into new roles and learn new skills, especially in the trades.
Victory for the Allied troops, signalled the end for women working in the shipyards–for a time, anyway. Men came home, and women working in the yards were laid off. Their contribution to the war effort for the Allies has not, however, been forgotten.
Explore our online exhibit Women & Wartime: Defending North Vancouver, 1939 to 1945 to dive deeper into women’s history on the North Shore.
Enjoyed this video? More theatrical stories created by Chantal Gallant and our Young Canada Works Actor-Interpreters, Taylor Williams and Tanner Zerr, along with Indigenous Cultural Programmers, Tsawaysia Spukwus (Alice Guss) and Senaqwila Wyss, will be available in an upcoming virtual project, MONOVA: Stories of Belonging from the North Shore.
Written and Performed: Chantal Gallant
Directed: Jen-Boyes Manseau
Production and Editing: Katherine Krampol, Orange Pulp Projects
Videography: Eric Sanderson
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Donations are accepted through the Friends of the North Vancouver Museum & Archives Society, Registered Charity No. 89031 1772 RR0001.