International Working Women’s Day and ACTU Women’s Conference 2024

On March 8th of this year was International Working Women’s Day and Raven spoke to a passionate and committed crowd of working women and allies, including ETU NSW/ACT members. Raven, on behalf of the women in the ETU, detailed how being a woman in our trades can be a hugely rewarding and exciting experience and how the electrical trades unlock a prosperous future and a future where sparkies are making a crucial contribution to Australia’s transition. Sparkies will be the ones to electrify Australia and move the country to a renewable future.

“I know this can be a supportive and prosperous place for the more diverse portion of our population” Raven Maris, IWD 2024

Raven also spoke to the importance of all sparkies, and certainly women in our trades, joining their union, the mighty ETU. She shared that “(ETU women see) union membership as one of the most important steps for them to take to help change current attitudes, working conditions, challenge stereotypes and ensure a safe, well paid, and equitable workplace for all sparkies. Collective strength gives the power for change and it’s NOT just a women’s issue, we need to have allyship from our male counterparts. It’s logical statement, right? Safer, better paid, fairer, union jobs are better for us all.”

This month the ACTU held its National Women’s Conference for 2024. This provided the ETU with a fantastic opportunity to, once again, speak to the importance of women joining our trades. Raven spoke about the need to prioritise the representation of women and organising to improve the working conditions for working women in this country.

At the conference Raven detailed the urgency to fill these shortfalls and explained that we need more women to join our trades, because we need to engage more of Australia’s population if we are to be successful in increasing the number of sparkies in this country; sparkies who will electrify Australia.

Raven explained that “the Federal government has set ambitious targets to achieve a 100% renewable future by electrifying the nation. To accomplish this, we need to install over 10,000 kilometres of new transmission lines, generate nine times more electricity from large-scale renewables, and install five times more distributed solar panels while upgrading households to all-electric. However, to achieve these targets, we need to train more electricians… without a diversified workforce that reflects the population of Australia, we won’t be able to achieve this transition. Therefore, it’s crucial to broaden the workforce with more women.”

We know there are barriers for women working in and wanting to join our trades. The barriers can include workplace culture, lack of appropriate facilities at worksites and PPE that doesn’t fit women’s bodies. ETU members know we have to all work together to remove these barriers so it’s easier for a more diverse population to become members of the electrical trades and of course to become members of the ETU.

To conclude her presentation, for which she received a standing ovation, Raven said,

This article was publised on 28 March 2024.