The Electrical Trades Union has voted in favour of setting quotas for women in governance and oversight positions at its federal and state levels.
It’s the culmination of efforts by women in the ETU and CEPU to make women more active in our union and in our trades.
Jess Rogers was the first female industrial officer at CEPU South Australia, and she was instrumental in getting the changes introduced.
“Through talking to female members it was clear to me that there was a gap in what we were doing to encourage and support female tradies and apprentices,” she told ETU Australia.
“Our female members are often the only women on site and we need to show there’s a place for them here – that they’re valued and important.”
Ms Rogers said that women were often not represented in the delegate structure or governance bodies of the union before due to trades being so male-dominated.
“Seeing women kicking goals can encourage other female members to get active knowing they’ll be supported and encouraged.”
"Having women in positions of power in our union will help more women into our trades."
“We need to get into schools around the country so girls know this is an option. Once you’ve got a trade you’re employable for the rest of your life.”
“Seeing women kicking goals can encourage other female members to get active knowing they’ll be supported and encouraged.” - Jess Rogers, CEPU South Australia Industrial Officer
Ms Rogers said the changes, which guarantee at least one female representative on governance boards at a state and national level, would assist both men and women.
“Women have been more active in getting advantages for all members that men are less likely to push for,” she said. “Things like flexible working hours, family friendly conditions and domestic violence leave benefit everyone.”
ETU National Secretary Allen Hicks said the change was significant for a union that had a membership base that was less than 2 per cent female.
“The ETU recognises we have much more to do in this space and these changes are only a small part of a much larger effort to attract and retaining more female workers in electrical occupations.”