Department of Family and Community Services

Women in Trades

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Women NSW undertakes research on women in trades, consistent with our focus on encouraging more women to enter non-traditional occupations.

The Women in trades: the missing 48 percent Occasional Paper (March 2013) explores the pattern of women’s employment in trade and technical jobs in Australia and specifically in NSW.

This research paper identifies engineering, information technology and science technicians, and skilled animal and horticultural trades as occupations where women have increased their representation in recent decades. These new areas of employment opportunity supplement the traditional ‘female’ trades of hairdressing and cookery. The analysis also suggests that working hours and work-life balance may be key issues for future progress.

Prior to this report, two papers were commissioned in May and October 2012:

  • The Gender segregation in the trades report describes the number, location, age, earnings and hours of work of employed tradeswomen and tradesmen in NSW at the time of the 2006 Census. Because the Census is a complete enumeration of the population, it is ideally suited for providing insights where the number of women employed in most trade occupations is so small. The report was prepared by Dr Ian Watson for the NSW Council for Women’s Economic Opportunity in May 2012.
  • A second report, Qualitative analysis of career paths of women in the trades 2001 to 2010 follows a group of men and women tradespeople through the labour market over time, using data from the longitudinal HILDA survey. Dr Watson prepared this report for Women NSW in October 2012.