Women in Trades: Breaking the Stereotypes
Trades are an essential career path in society. This field is frequently dominated by men. In fact, “women only make up 5% of the skilled trades workforce.” (Skilled Trades College) Why is this? One issue faced by women in the workforce is sexism and discrimination. Women are consistently treated negatively due to societal stereotypes. Even if the bias against women is unintentional, the repercussions are obvious. Women are given less demanding, lower paying, and demeaning jobs. Additionally, women are being harassed in their jobs. Many report unwanted touching and comments from their coworkers and superiors. For women with families, access to childcare can be a big issue. Childcare is expensive, and people in trades work long and unpredictable hours. This often results in a difficult choice between work or family.
In the past, women were not given access to blue-collar careers. Realistically, it wasn’t until World War I that women took the men’s places in these careers. Once the war ended, few women kept their careers going. Then, in World War II, women were called back to the workforce to ensure the nations didn’t collapse. These women were “were early pioneers for females in the skilled trades, but most of them were only temporarily in this industry.“ (FORTIS) Again, men were prioritized and preferred for these jobs because of stereotypes. Despite this, some women decided they wanted to continue working and find a way around these biases.
So, now what? I hope I didn’t deter you from pursuing a career in trades. In fact, I encourage you to pursue it! Change is only going to be made with continuous progress, and
willingness to challenge current biases. Canada is one of the countries that is rapidly losing their trade workforce. This presents a unique opportunity for women. You have the opportunity to make a change in the force. Also, there is a possibility of earning more money here than in a typical 9-5 job. Also, many companies are now making a distinct effort to promote diversity and inclusion, so they are looking to hire women and people of colour.
How do you get started? It is important to zero in on what specific trade interests you. You can do this by asking people in the field, taking career assessment quizzes, or by doing some research. Then look into what post-secondary school is of interest to you. It never hurts to be over-informed.
Women in trades are under-appreciated, disrespected, and underrepresented. In the present day, many women are working hard to disprove biases and shut down negative stereotypes about women. If you’re considering a blue-collar career, I wish you the best of luck and am excited to see how you change the field!