Two exhibitions featuring images of 12 women that feature women working in traditionally male-dominated roles are available for public viewing in the Loddon Mallee, at the Bendigo Gov Hub Hoardings on St Andrews Ave, Bendigo, and in the foyer of the Castlemaine Vintage Bazaar.
HALT Partnerships Coordinator Alison Jones is committed to improving workplace mental health and believes that by increasing women’s participation post-pandemic in traditionally male-dominated workforces we can work towards better outcomes for the whole community.
“It has been fantastic to work on a project that showcases some of the amazing women who work in trades across the Loddon Mallee. Some of these women are highly skilled trailblazers, having worked in trades for 20+ years, and some are just starting out as apprentices,” Ms Jones said.
“We know that diverse workplaces are healthier, more productive workplaces, and that in some instances women working on the tools are able to earn substantially higher incomes than those in healthcare, administration, education and childcare.
Although the numbers of women taking up the tools is slowly increasing, trades and construction remain male-dominated spaces, and with that comes some real challenges for women wanting to enter the workforce, with woman being put off from entering trades at every step,” said Ms Jones.
“Attitudes around gender-based beliefs around what work is and isn’t appropriate for specific genders all contribute towards women not entering trades,” Ms Jones said.
“We hope that through this project young women will see themselves represented in the trades and construction workforce, and that this may help counter some of the negative attitudes they may face when considering an apprenticeship in trades and construction.”
“It has been a great opportunity to work alongside HALT in the development of this project, examining how we can work across sectors to promote gender equality,” said Tricia Currie, CEO WHLM. “The pandemic has magnified pre-existing inequalities for women in our economy, who have been hit hardest by job losses and financial insecurity. It is more important than ever to remove barriers that prevent women from enjoying the full benefit of trade-based employment, including outdated gender stereotypes, discrimination and harassment.”
The exhibition in Castlemaine and the launch events feature the women speaking about how they stay mentally well while working in challenging environments, framed around the 5 ways to Wellbeing.
Staying active, being social and being mindful of their health as well as having other women to share their experiences with all contribute to positive wellbeing, and all the women featured spoke strongly in support of more women entering trades.
Workplace culture can be transformed by more women working alongside men and claiming space was a key theme to come out of the interviews alongside giving it a go and not needing to be seen as ‘tough’ to be successful.
The 12 framed images and storytelling exhibition can be viewed in the foyer of the Castlemaine Vintage Bazaar, 9 Walker Street Castlemaine, throughout June 2022.
The 25-meter-long banner of the images installed on the Gov Hub Hoardings on St Andrews Ave, Bendigo, was made possible by a City of Greater Bendigo Community Grant.