Women trade experiences at the Beehive

Thursday 10 December 2009, 8:13AM
By Pansy Wong

Being a woman in a male-dominated trade should be a little less lonely as a result of an initiative by the Ministry of Women's Affairs.

Women's Affairs Minister Pansy Wong today hosted the first Women in Trades Networking Breakfast at the Beehive, which saw more than 25 women electricians, builders, plumbers and mechanics and other tradeswomen from throughout the Wellington region discussing ways to get more women into various trades.

"These women are all trailblazers, they are the pioneers of their trade and it makes sense that there is a network in place for them to discuss the issues and opportunities that come with having more women in the trades industry," Mrs Wong says.

"Currently 99 percent of all plumbers, builders and mechanics are men, which shows that young Kiwi women are missing out on the opportunity to not only earn while they learn - but also to acquire themselves a trade skill that could set them on a prosperous career path."

The Wellington Women in Trades network is the first of its kind to be established in New Zealand and the Ministry of Women's Affairs - who organised today's breakfast - is working to establish similar networks around the country.

"Isolation is one of a number of barriers to women staying in the trades and this initiative should help overcome that and help women stay and thrive in their chosen career," Mrs Wong says.

"With the current skill shortage, New Zealand can't afford for the 51 percent of our population who are women to not see trades as being a viable career option."