Stories from the Field: WCAHS Attends a Conference for Farmworker Women

Women Farmworker Conference

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Many of us are familiar with the story of Cesar Chavez and how he and other farmworkers organized themselves to fight for farmworker rights. Although much progress has been made, many farmworkers continue to work long hours in unsafe conditions and with low pay. Because of this, community leaders still play an essential role in improving the lives of farmworkers.

The Annual Farmworker Women’s Conference Combines Advocacy with Tradition

Lali Moheno is a community leader who has been working for most of her life to improve the lives of farmworkers, with a focus on farmworker women. She not only watched her mother work in the fields for many years, but she also worked in the fields herself throughout high school and college.

The 16th Annual Farmworker Women’s Conference took place on November 3rd 2017 and focused on improving the well-being of women who work in the fields and their families. Lali Moheno first created the event in 2002 in memory of her mother.

“I started this because my mother was really ill. She was suffering a lot from diabetes, and [had] injuries she got in the field. She had her Achilles’ tendon ruptured in both legs because in the fields, every step you take, you step in soft dirt.” - Lali Moheno (Vida en el Valle, 2013)

A Focus on Farmworker Women’s Health, Safety, Employment, Education, and the Environment

Farmworker women from anywhere are welcome to attend the conference free of charge. The vast majority of farmworkers in California are Spanish speaking. This conference was conducted in Spanish and even provided childcare, an environment perfect for women farmworkers. Various agencies were present to provide  information on access to healthcare, employment, training, labor rights, and educational programs.

“Only farmworkers know what it’s like to have to work in the fields. Everything [in the conference] is based on my own background. It’s because I believe people deserve to have a better life than what we had.” - Lali Moheno (Vida en el Valle, 2013)

Collaboration with Influential Leaders

WCAHS is dedicated to improving the health and safety of farmworkers and their families. Working with Lali Moheno and attending her events has opened important doors for us to reach the community directly and disseminate important agricultural health and safety information as well as inform workers about the free trainings and resources that we offer.

Last year I had the pleasure of attending the Immigration Conference and Farmworker Women’s Conference, both organized by Lali Moheno. I had the opportunity to speak to workers and their families about the importance of heat illness prevention and pesticide safety.

With the support of Lali Moheno, WCAHS was also able to conduct focus groups for our Sexual Harassment Prevention Study, which aims to provide agricultural companies with information that they can use to foster a work environment that reduces the risk of sexual harassment.

Don’t Miss Out on This Year’s Farmworker Women’s Conference!

The Farmworker Women’s Conference typically takes place in November in Visalia, CA. Don’t forget to take a look at our events page every now and then, where we will be posting information about this year’s conference as soon as we learn the details. We hope to see you there!