What does a woman in the trades look like? Maybe, she looks just like you (if you’re a woman). Or your daughter. Or your sister. Or even your mother. Third from the end is Mary-Anne Bowcott, owner of the growing success story Westcom Plumbing and Heating. Learn more about her here: Feature Entrepreneur: Mary-Ann Bowcott, Westcom Plumbing and Heating. Yeah, that’s what a woman in the trades looks like. (Photo below by Kerry Verchere of Verchere Photography.)
The statistics released yesterday by the provincial government, only 10 per cent of all apprenticed workers are women.
“Unfortunately, the numbers in BC are only as high as 10% when you include hairdressers,” observed Lisa Langevin of the BC Tradeswomen Society. “When you only look at non-traditonal trades the numbers are less than 4%.”
Canada-wide, those numbers are similar, inching up at a snail’s pace. According to this Statistics Canada document, “the percentage of women enrolled in building construction programs was 3.7% in 2007, a slight increase over the 1.4% in 1991.”
Recently, the provincial government added 562 new trades training seats at post-secondary institutes. And while more and more women are signing up for the education, they also have a higher drop-out rate. Again, from the Statistics Canada document, “Despite the increased number of women in registered apprenticeship training programs, many of them drop out and do not earn their certificate. In 2007, although women accounted for 3.0% of enrolments in training programs for electrical, electronic and related trades, they accounted for only 1.5% of all completions in these fields of study.”
To follow (and possibly become) a BC woman in the trades, consider checking out the BC Tradeswomen Society page on Facebook. There, you will find mentors and information on everything you’ve always wanted to know but were afraid to ask about women in the trades, right here in BC.