From STEM to trades, there are numerous male-dominated work fields where women have been traditionally underrepresented—however, the importance of women's participation and leadership in these areas cannot be overstated! Breaking through the barriers of societal expectations and biases, women bring fresh perspectives, unique skills, and important contributions that enrich the workforce and drive innovation. In fact, even many self-identified feminists might be surprised by the statistics and facts surrounding how female presence impacts business. But what can we as a society do to help women overcome the barriers that unfortunately still exist? It’s an important question to ask.
When women advance their careers, everyone benefits—their families, their children, and the greater community. Study after study has shown this, including scientific research published by Children and Youth Services Review in August 2021 and a financial report by the International Monetary Fund in May 2018.
Industries where women are underrepresented, such as trade, engineering, and STEM, don’t flourish under male-exclusive leadership. Encouraging women to discover jobs in the trades not only promotes gender equality by breaking down traditional gender roles and stereotypes, it also challenges the notion that certain jobs are only suitable for men. So the question becomes how do we empower women to explore careers in non-traditional fields?
I think we need to focus here on how to get women into the field…by showcasing what a job in the trades can offer them, by focusing on making the trades accessible to everyone, and by making sure that job sites and companies are safe places for women to work.
A job in the trades can offer a salary that starts at $18-20 an hour at entry level and can eventually lead to over $40 an hour as a Master Plumber, or Master Electrician. Not to mention most of these jobs include things like very limited nights/weekends/holidays. Better benefits. Company vehicles etc.
The demand for tradespeople is growing rapidly and unfortunately, residential plumbing isn’t seen as desirable. It isn’t even seen as something that is available to women.
At Donovan Waterworks, we are proud to say that we offer an apprentice program to help introduce women to the trades and give them the skills they need to move to the next level. We’re fully invested in this—it’s a paid apprenticeship program, so the women who take this opportunity can earn a living while they earn hours toward getting their plumbing license. Plus, they’ll be working alongside our team of master plumbers who are passionate about what they do and want to see the next generation enter the workforce prepared.
This apprenticeship sets women up for a rewarding career: They do not need any experience to apply, and throughout the apprenticeship, they’ll learn technical skills that are useful not only in their future plumbing career but also in many other aspects of life. After 12 to 18 months, most apprentices are ready to “graduate” to their own company-provided truck and start undertaking jobs. As soon as they are hired, they will receive benefits on the first of the following month, and they will be eligible for frequent pay raises throughout their time with our company.
Our reason for this apprenticeship is because we practice what we preach. We want to encourage more women to take these professional opportunities, and we are proud to be a business that hires women so they can see what a career in the trades can do for them. A career in the trades is only going to become more important in the future, as fewer people are entering the trades while demand is concurrently going up. As a supply-and-demand issue, this means that being in the trades will only become more lucrative.