According to a recent Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey, women have made only marginal gains in the trades from 2008-2018.
In 2018, the number of people working in the trades shrank to 895,400. The number of women in trades rose only slightly from 34,600 to 34,800.
A number of government initiatives seek to improve the numbers but cultural and structural barriers do not necessarily make the trades welcoming or appealing to women.
Mandy Rennehan, CEO of Freshco Reconstruction, is helping promote trades for women. She states that acceptance is a big barrier. Women face “extreme expectations”. Generally it takes more time for women to earn the respect of their co-workers than it does for male counterparts. According to Mandy, “You have to prove yourself constantly over and over again… men can prove themselves once.”
An acute shortage of trades workers in Canada has a negative economic impact on the country. Addressing cultural and social deterrents that prevent women from entering the trades makes good business sense. Mandy Rennehan states that a shortage of skilled workers has had a massive negative impact on her business as she has had to turn down millions of dollars of contracts.
Read the CBC article, Women are making inroads in the trades but still have a ways to go.
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