Women in the electrical trades
A great career for women
While the electrical trades are male-dominated, there are also great opportunities for women in a career as an electrical worker. More women are now entering the trade than ever before.
Lower pay gap
The electrical industries have a lower gender pay gap than most other industries, and it has reduced from 2020-21. Union agreements are a key part of the reason for the smaller pay gap. According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, the gender pay gap is smaller when pay is set by award or collective agreement.
The electrical trades have a strong union presence, which means that workers in these industries can enjoy good benefits such as above average superannuation and parental leave. Some enterprise agreements now include paid cessation of pregnancy leave and pay superannuation on top of parental leave so that women don’t miss out. The ETU is committed to including these benefits in all future agreements.
ETU National Women’s Committee
The Electrical Trades Union is welcoming more women than ever before. The ETU National Women’s Committee is proud to have played a massive role in encouraging more women to take up a trade and join our Union. They are the driving force behind improving conditions for women across the Union and the industry, advocating for action on issues like gender bias, sex discrimination and breaking down employment barriers for women.
ETU Divisional Executive holds a place for an affirmative action officer, to advocate for issues that affect women as part of Union campaigns and decisions. Affirmative action officer Raven Maris from the NSW branch was elected in July 2023 and will sit on the executive and lead the National Women’s Committee. Raven will also be the first ETU AA (Women) Divisional Councillor elected to represent ETU female members on the CEPU National Council. The CEPU is constituted by the Electrical (ETU), Plumbing and Communications divisions.
““The reality is, we need more women in the electrical trades to help fill an ever-growing worker shortage. I’m a proud sparkie, and I have no doubt that if our industries can adapt to welcome more women, then we’ll boost female participation, and make the electrical trades a more attractive career for all,” she said.
The affirmative action officers (AAs) in each state are:
NSW & ACT Raven Maris
QLD & NT Ariah Goodluck
SA Gaynor Bowers
VIC Jessie Peckett
WA Belinda Cifelli
TAS Amanda Coleman
In 2021 the Electrical Trades Union has released a new report ‘Nowhere to Go’ about the lack of adequate bathroom amenities for workers on many work sites around Australia.
The report exposes unsanitary, unsafe, inaccessible and unsuitable amenities faced by many workers in our industry and how this issue disproportionately impacts women.
It also raises deeper issues of many employers’ outdated attitudes towards women and blue-collar workers in subjecting them to conditions which would never be tolerated in the white-collar world.
Women in Male-Dominated Industries (WIMDOI) is a network/conference. Follow them on Facebook here to get updates about events and opportunities to connect with other women in male-dominated industries
Women in Apprenticeships Victoria Electrical Program
The Women in Apprenticeships Victoria Electrical (WAVE) Program is an initiative funded by Apprenticeships Victoria and delivered by The Centre for U. The program aims to increase the number of women entering the electrical trades. It supports them as they transition from their electrical pre-apprenticeships to employment in the electrical industry.
Feeling like you need some support from other women in the industry? Join the Sparkettes Facebook group in your state to connect with other women in the electrical trades who may be having similar experiences to you at work.