Female tradies in Australia changing their names to get job interviews

'Gender doesn't make you a good plumber or a bad plumber,' says expert citing gender discrimination

Female tradies in Australia changing their names to get job interviews

Female tradies in Australia are altering their names to appear more masculine in an attempt to land an interview with a potential employer, according to reports.

Hacia Atherton, Empowered Women in Trades chief executive and founder, shared with 9News the discrimination faced by women in traditionally male-dominated trade industries.

"Some of these women have been calling over 30 employers trying to get an interview for vacancies that are being advertised and these women are actually being told: 'We don't hire women and we're not going to interview you,'" she told 9News in an interview.

"[This] is just one, illegal, and two, heartbreaking to hear that this is happening."

According to Atherton, women have taken to "changing their names to make it sound more masculine in the resume" just to get an employer to call them.

"So, from Kennedy to Ken, or Roberta to Rob," Atherton explained. "And even then, when they get calls from the employers, the employers will hang up on them because they hear that they're a woman or they'll ask to be handed over to their boyfriend or their husband to do an interview."

'Disheartening' trend amid shortage

Atherton described in another interview that this was a "disheartening trend" happening.

"Gender doesn't make you a good plumber or a bad plumber," she told 3AW. "It's your skills, your ability to problem solve, your ability to use your hands. It doesn't matter if you're a girl or a guy or a non-binary person - if you're good at the trade, you're good at the trade."

Electrical is currently the most popular trade industry for women in Australia, followed by carpentry, according to Atherton.

"It's sad to see that trades like plumbing and welding don't even really have a full percentage of female representation at the moment, which I think they're both incredible trades that women can excel in," she said.

The situation comes as BuildSkills Australia said the country will need 90,000 construction workers in the next three months to meet its ambitious goal of 1.2 million new homes by 2029, SBS reported.

"Now, that's just not going to happen if we don't start changing our mindset to seeing trades as not having a gender and it's just a human being job," Atherton said.

"If you've got the work ethic, you've got the skillset, you've got the mindset, you should be able to have a go at being a tradie if that's what your heart desires."

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