To mark the occasion, we invited three tradeswomen onto our live social discussion panel, Talking Trade, to lend their perspective of some of the topics covered in the report, from entering the industry to discrimination and working conditions.
Find out what our host: bricklayer Darcie Richards, along with her guests: painter and decorator Rosie, and plumber/founder of Stopcocks and Register of Tradeswomen Hattie Hasan MBE, have to say about the situation for women in the trade…
Entering the industry.
There are startlingly few women entering the construction industry workforce; the Women On The Tools white paper identified that a reason behind this is that most women are not provided with adequate training, information, or exposure to other tradeswomen in schooling and education. This means that most tradeswomen enter the industry as a second career, or later on in life, like Talking Trade guest Rosie:
“I have a memory of wiring up a plug at school and I really enjoyed that, but becoming a tradeswoman wasn’t in my reality. I didn’t even think about it until I wanted to decorate my children’s bedroom and I found a decorating course myself to do. That was brilliant.”
Read the Women On The Tools White Paper to find out more about what can be done to encourage more women to enter the construction industry, and why this is so important.
Unfortunately, a shared experience of many women working in the construction industry is being subjected to discrimination. The Women On The Tools White Paper explores under what circumstances this discrimination is experienced and suggests methods that can be taken to stop or reduce this discrimination. When discussing how to reduce discrimination in the Talking Trade episode, guest Hattie Hasan MBE explained:
“There’s something called, ‘unconscious bias’. When something has always been that way, and then you see something that breaks that perception, you do a double-take and it can be quite jarring; that’s a natural reaction. But, you can catch yourself doing that and try and tackle that bias.”
When we asked sponsors of the white paper, industry supporters, and tradeswomen themselves what was needed to improve opportunities for women in construction, ‘role models’ were always referenced. By increasing exposure of women in the trade, seeing role models can encourage more women to enter the industry and help to reduce the discrimination of those already working in the industry. As Talking Trade host Darcie Richards says:
“I love seeing women supporting women. When I see other women bricklayers online, it just makes me feel like I fit in.”
“I do like seeing other tradeswomen on social media. I’ll always follow them. It almost makes it look like there are loads of us, but actually, the statistics are still saying there’s very few of us.”
– painter/decorator Rosie.