While still the minority in the building industry the number of women donning a tool belt and hard hat is definitely on the rise. Let’s support our female tradies with site amenities of their own.
Residential building is booming in Victoria and with it comes a shortage of trades. Women are in a good position to enter the industry and prove to their male peers that they are just as capable of getting the job done. The female tradie, however, still faces a number of hurdles when it comes to participation in this male dominated occupation.
According to the National Association of Women in Construction, females represent approximately 11% of the construction industry workforce. To grow this number we really need to support women in the industry. Women in constrution deserve the same amount of respect, consideration and mutual regard as they are offered in any other industry. It’s odd then that building is one of the only industries that doesn’t offer a male and female toilet on site as standard. In most cases, female tradies are expected to use the same facility as their male counterparts which can lead to concerns about privacy, security and sanitation. According to the WorkSafe Compliance Code, Workplace Amenities and Work Environment 2008, unisex toilets may be provided where the total number of people who normally work at the workplace is 10 or fewer, or there are 2 or fewer employees of one gender, however, there is little evidence to show that even this minimum standard is adhered to. In the worst case scenario, with only one unisex toilet on site, female tradies may avoid using onsite facilities. Evidence shows that when workers are unable to access a toilet or don’t want to use a toilet facility for whatever reason, they are less likely to drink fluids. Fluid intake is extremely important to the human condition and a lack of fluid or dehydration can lead to all sorts of health problems including bladder and kidney disease, incontinence and heat stroke in the warmer months. Isn’t it time the industry lifted its standards and provided separate toilet facilities for all female trades?
By Elise Kelsey, Managing Director, Aim Hire