Many people in the electrical industry have heard of the successful and ongoing campaign to get more women into the industry titled ‘Jobs for the Girls’. However, WaterSafe has now created a similar campaign for the plumbing industry called ‘Get Girls Plumbing’.
With recent news focusing on gender inequality in business and corporate settings, a recent survey reported that many homeowners would be very happy if there were more women in trade occupations such as plumbing and electrical work.
Research conducted by WaterSafe reveals that one third of women surveyed would prefer a female plumber and 37% believe they wouldn’t get scammed by a woman. More than a third of women surveyed revealed they would learn a trade if they were beginning their career path again. However, in the plumbing world less than one percent of plumbers are female, which shows that despite this research there is still a serious lack of women in the industry.
WaterSafe say that the issue stems from a ‘gender bias’ at school level. Many of those surveyed said that boys were much more encouraged to start a trade whereas they were steered towards ‘female’ roles such as teaching, healthcare and office work.
This claim is supported by further WaterSafe survey material, which says that half of those surveyed said they don’t believe boys and girls are given the same career opportunities. These studies are backed by the fact that the most popular career path for women is office and admin followed by academia and entertainment professions.
One female plumber, Hattie Hasan, the founder of Stopcocks Women Plumbers, states that she was never encouraged to get into a trade profession and was actually prevented from doing subjects she wanted to at school as they were’ boys’ subjects. She instead went on to study a psychology degree and taught for eight years before deciding that she would change completely and study a trade. Hattie says that all girls should be encouraged to get into plumbing if it is what they want to do.
In a similar vein to the research which sparked the ‘Jobs for the Girls’ campaign, these findings have prompted a call to action and WaterSafe is now hoping that their ‘Get Girls Plumbing’ campaign will tackle the shortage of females in the trade.
Donna Mason works as a Careers Advisor and says that this segregation of gender roles is something which must be tackled, especially with growing unemployment amongst young people and the skills shortage.
The Director of WaterSafe, Julie Spinks, is a female in a male dominated profession and she comments:
“...even with consumer backing, women still remain severely under-represented in the plumbing industry despite it offering a stable, fruitful career path. Clearly, our research suggests this is as a result of traditional gender stereotypes ingrained at a young age. Our ‘Get Girls Plumbing’ campaign looks to alleviate this by encouraging more women to dispel the gender myth and encourage them to join the industry.”
Do you agree with WaterSafe, are there a lack of women in Plumbing and trade industries in general, and do you feel this campaign will encourage women to join?
Written by Sara Thomson