CBA and Women in the Trades

For women who wish to pursue careers in the trades, the CBA will help put them on a path to success. Currently, only four percent of tradespeople in BC are women.

According to the BC Centre for Women and the Trades Coordinator Sandra Brynjolfson, women can face difficulty finding and keeping jobs. “Believe it or not, some companies just out-and-out don’t hire women.”

Brynjolfson, who is also the co-chair of Build Together, the women’s caucus of BC Building Trades, said discrimination plays a major part in denying women employment opportunities. And when women do find work, they are often the first to be laid off, she said. “Its viewed that she may miss more time or won’t be as dedicated because her family may come first, or if she has a sick child then she has to go tend to them and leave work.”

Brynjolfson knows first-hand how difficult it is for women to succeed in the trades. She worked in the trades for 20 years, specializing as an electrician in commercial, high-voltage, and industrial work.

“There’s stereotypes that are put on women’s backs that don’t allow them to just learn their craft, be an apprentice, and become a journey at their craft,” she said. “If you’re always laid off, it’s hard to finish your apprenticeships, hard to get the hours, hard to get the roof over the head and the food on the table.”

Brynjolfson said CBA’s priority hiring and training measures will keep women on the job site and may help them establish a career in the trades.

In her role as coordinator for the BC Centre for Women and the Trades, Brynjolfson is working with industry partners to create a cultural change in the construction industry, whereby diversity and inclusion are valued. Until that cultural shift happens, equity measures are crucial to increasing retention rates for women in the trades. She said the CBA will benefit local workers, too. “Apprentices and women who are getting into their trade now have the opportunity to work in their communities and be trained in their communities rather than have to travel for work. So it’s beneficial that way.”

Because jobs will be created at the local level, local economies will also benefit.

Read the whole article in the HSA Report here

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