In the early 1800s, gender equality was something about which no one had ever heard. A woman’s place was quite emphatically at home caring for her husband and children, and the concept of her heading out into the workforce was as unthinkable as radical activities like voting. Fortunately, after many hard-fought battles, women won their right to vote. The seemingly impossible was suddenly happening, and a woman’s right and place in society was changing for the better. From there, the tide of equality has slowly turned.
One of the final bastions of the Aussie blokey culture is the trades. However, even this last mountain is slowly being eroded as women pick up their tools and challenge the status quo that has existed for so long. So, where are we now? Let’s find out:
Back in the day, if girls went to school, they would learn to cook, keep a house, type, and sew. Everything else was irrelevant. After all, a young girl would only grow up to please her husband, bear his children and prepare dinner. Times have certainly changed. The growing number of girls attending technical schools and colleges is having a tangible effect. For example, the growing number of female electricians in Melbourne, can be directly linked to the rise in the number of females enrolled in relevant TAFEs and colleges offering qualifications in this area.
Women learning alongside men is actively encouraged through numerous government and private pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs. These programs are for women looking to become electricians, builders, plumbers, or whichever trade they choose. Even those woman who were unsure about which direction they wanted their career to take can opt for a pre-apprenticeship that will provide exposure to a more general set of skills so they can gain experience that will help them determine the right field for them.
Women in Trades
The concept of a woman working in the trades sector is slowly catching on, but if you’re looking to join the industry and you’re not sure what to do or where to start, where do you look for advice? As more and more women opt to ditch aprons for hammers, organisations such as The Lady Tradies became established to help those in need and advocate for improved education and inclusion of women in these fields.
While the Lady Tradies is not the only program, website, or information avenue in Australia, it is one of the better-known sites for advice. You can learn about positions, training, and apprenticeships, inspiring stories from other women in trades, and you can even list your services once you firmly establish yourself in the workplace.
In addition to groups such as these, there are plenty of public resources available for females interested in building a satisfying and rewarding career in the trades. In some cases, Federal or State governments can offer incentives for employers to diversify the gender profile of their workforce, which is a huge step forward.
The shock of seeing women build your home or business from the ground up is slowly wearing off, and the future is looking brighter. Who knows where the future of gender equality will take us from here?
There is no force more powerful than empowered women with the determination to rise. Women in trades are just the beginning. Whether you become a brickie, a plumber, or you choose to become a full-time mum; it’s important to know that you have the right to choose your destiny as a woman.