Tradeswomen directory paves the way for more lady tradies

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
5 Min Read

In an industry historically dominated by men, Wendy Pinch has begun paving the way for a lady tradie revolution.

The former mining recruitment officer has become a beacon of change for Aussie tradeswomen, supporting and promoting female representation within the industry to help achieve better gender representation.

With female workers making up less than 13 per cent of the entire construction industry and only 2 per cent of tradespeople, It’s no secret that trades have always been a heavily male-dominated line of work.

But solving this puzzle has so far proved too much for industry and government alike, with little progress made in the traditionally male-dominated field.

It wasn’t until Wendy began working in the mining sector organising crews of FIFO workers that she became aware of the sheer disparity in gender diversity across the construction industry, with most of her work crews misbalanced at 120 men to every two women.

The problem puzzled her until a chance to help a beloved elderly aunt trying to organise a plumber sparked a lightbulb moment.

“She didn’t want to let him in because she was living on her own and vulnerable,” she told BuildIT.

“But when I asked her if it would be OK if I could get a female plumber, she said absolutely…I wondered, where are these women, and how do you find them?”

After research, it was clear many other women shared those concerns, citing safety, unreliability, being spoken down to and being ripped off as the main reasons they were reluctant to organise a tradesperson.

Wendy saw a noticeable gap in the market and wanted to help women who would feel more comfortable using a female tradesperson to find one easily.

“I thought, if I wanted to hire a woman in a trade to do some work for me, how would I find that person, and how do these women promote their businesses?”

“So we took these tradeswomen out of the big pool of male tradies, where they were get swallowed up and going unnoticed, and put them in their own pool.”

Wendy launched The Lady Tradies Australia, an online platform connecting Australians with female tradespeople, including carpenters, electricians, and plumbers. Removing the apprehension for those who’d prefer a woman’s touch.

Thirteen years later, the website has become more than just a female tradesperson directory, guiding Australia’s next generation of tradeswomen on their first steps into the trade industry.

Wendy says the platform helps extinguish many young women’s doubts when considering a trade career.

“Whenever I go to schools or career expos, the biggest question that comes forward from any of the younger girls is – can I do this, and will there be a job for me if I go through with it?” she said.

“The answer to that is a big yes. There are even more women running their own trade businesses not on my website because they don’t want to advertise as they’re continually booked out.”

Wendy told BuildIT that any student considering a trade should first do ample research to ensure it’s the right fit for them – The Lady Tradie Australia website is an excellent place to start.

“Do your homework first, not just on the trade but on yourself and weigh up your likes and dislikes to consider how they could impact what trade is right for you,” she said.

“For example, are you comfortable climbing under a building a few centimetres off the ground, where there are spiders, and it’s dark? If not, do not pick plumbing.”

Wendy says picking the wrong trade is the primary reason more women than men don’t complete their training, with many being lost to the trade industry.

“When people say, ‘I’ll do any trade,’ I am concerned, as trades are very different.”

For a complete guide to choosing a trade that is right for you, visit the ‘Getting Started’ section on the Lady Tradies Australia website.

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.