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  • The Low Down

Is this how we treat women in the trades?

Send your kids out of the room because I’m about to tell stories about women in the trades, and I’m so mad, I’m levitating. I’m going to turn the air blue.

First is Jane. She’s smart, motivated, sober, responsible, and hard working. She’s quick to learn and is already competent with carpentry tools because she’s been building stuff for years. Jane joins a crew – in our, apparently, highly educated region where we, apparently, have enlightened builders – and immediately faces verbal abuse from the boss and men on the crew. Guys are staring at her ass and commenting every time she bends over. In her first week, three guys come on to her with sexual innuendo and suggestions. The boss makes it clear she owes him for hiring her. They’re all tripping over each other to ‘help’ her with tasks until it’s so uncomfortable she bails out after a couple of weeks.

Next is Mandy. She’s up on a 20-foot wall setting rafters. I have to stop everything, climb up on the crane truck, look the operator in the eye and tell him to pay attention to his job or f— ing leave because he was being a distracted, drooling idiot.