Be Part of the Change

We can all help to address the gender imbalance in the skilled trades workforce. Below are just a few helpful tips and things for you to think about. Jump to tips for Women in Trades; Coworkers

You can also learn about our New Boots initiative.

 

Employers

Execute and enforce zero tolerance harassment policies. Communicate these policies and why they are important to your entire team.
  Provide equipment designed and made for women. Whether it is an issue of fit (for example, coveralls), or function (for example, safety harnesses), providing the right equipment and facilities for women on-the-job increases productivity and improves safety.
Don't restrict the duties of your female employees unless there is a legitimate need for an accommodation. If she can weld, she can probably shovel snow from the walk, just like her male teammates. Sure she might excel at finish work, but have you even let her try the rough work? Don't make assumptions about the abilities of your female employees; get to know their unique strengths and weaknesses, just like the men on your team.
   
 

Women in Trades

  Know the line between fun and teasing, and harassment. We all have the right to a respectful work environment; find out about the policies in place to protect you, and take action to educate your coworkers and protect yourself if necessary.
If your employer does not provide equipment and facilities made for women (such as properly fitted safety equipment or washrooms), ask for them. Be prepared: you may have to explain why this is important. Help your employer to understand that proper equipment and facilities for women is simply a safety issue.
It's important to learn all of the facets of your chosen trade, especially when you're just starting out. Make sure you're familiar with the full spectrum of tasks and skills required to be successful in your trade, and ask for opportunities to work on the skills and tasks you haven't yet tried (your Progress Logbook can be a great resource for apprentices).
   

 

Coworkers

Be aware of the power of your words and actions on your coworkers. If a teammate is saying or doing something that is inappropriate, tell them that you don't agree with the behaviour and explain why. In this context, a male coworker who sticks up for his female counterparts can have even more impact than a woman who sticks up for herself.
Understand that accommodations like female washroom facilities on the job site are not preferential treatment but equal treatment; educate your coworkers who lack this understanding.
Don't make assumptions about the abilities of your female teammates. Talk with them and find out their unique strengths and weaknesses, and their experience in the trade. The strongest teams are those that make the most of every member, and harness the power of workforce diversity.

 

 

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