Advancing Women In Skilled Trades

Workplace Equality Posters Appendices

Women at Work

Labour market snapshot of skilled trades for women in Hamilton

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Your Role in Preventing sexism

By acting as AN EXAMPLE to others, coworkers can promote high standards for equality at work.

Every employee has a powerful role in creating inclusive workplaces and creating a welcoming work culture.

Have you heard these at work?

These words and phrases put all women down. Repeating these without consequence “normalizes” them in workplace culture.

“Don’t be such a girl.”
“Boys will be boys.”
“It’s a guy thing.”
“That’s gay.”
“You [throw/act/run] like a girl.”

Please be the one who takes a stand.

Do not use these words and phrases.


Women in the workplace

It’s time these myths about women in the workplace were busted.




Men are stronger than women

Not every workplace has a quota and often, workplaces conduct blind evaluations. Women are hired due to skill and talent.

Women don’t belong in trades

Sexism doesn’t belong in the skilled trades, or anywhere for that matter. Women have a role in the workforce and can be successful if they have what it takes to complete a job.

Women can’t take care of a family if they work in the trades

Sacrifices are made in almost every field of work. Travelling, long hours, and work emergencies happen, but it is possible for women to have a balance inside and outside of work.

Women are hired to fill a diversity quota

Not every workplace has a quota and often, workplaces conduct blind evaluations. Women are hired due to skill and talent.

Harassment: What’s the big deal?

It’s the little things that hurt the most.

Women face barriers daily in the workplace and “little” comments, jokes, and behaviours keep these barriers up. Here’s why these “little” things aren’t so little…

Objectifying = Belittling

It may just be a poster or a slight dig, but women are frequently objectified at work. Objectification happens when a person is treated as a physical object.

Sexual Comment = Damaging

Comments like, “you’re looking hot today” or “you should wear your hair like that more often” can be very damaging to one’s self-esteem and mental wellbeing.

“Casual” jokes = Hurtful

Sometimes the phrase, “it was just a joke” is used to offset hurtful remarks. Joking around about how a woman isn’t good enough or insinuating sexual demands can be hurtful, and even considered abusive.

It is a big deal

Even though the intention may be harmless, it can be impactful. Harassed workers can experience:

Workplace Equality

Scenarios and roleplay to help understand women’s issues

Supervisor Scenario

It is Denise’s first day at a new company. Her supervisor, Mike, has been very helpful in orienting her to the new workplace and answering all her questions. On subsequent shifts he singles her out for attention, Denise feels grateful because Mike has been helping her out a lot.

One day, Mike asks Denise for coffee after work and she accepts. During the outing Mike talks a lot about
himself and how lonely he is, and at the end of the evening gives Denise a kiss on the cheek. Denise is very uncomfortable with what has happened and tries to avoid him in the future—concerned that if she tells him to stop it will make her work difficult.

Questions to consider:
  1. What should Denise do?
  2. Sharing relevant organizational information and beginning the process of learning about the organization’s mission and work
  3. Socializing the employee to the culture of the organization, including the values, behaviours, formal and informal practices, etc.
  4. Building relationships between new employee and colleagues, including managers or supervisors


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Increase Work Flexibility

WHY? Flexible work schedules are family-friendly workplaces benefit everyone. Their purpose is to accommodate staff, especially women, who are caregivers, single parents, etc. without sacrificing productivity.

An American study by Boston College studied flextime’s impact on 1353 employees and 151 managers. It was shown to have a positive impact on productivity with 70% of managers, and 87% of employees.

HOW? Where possible, increased flexibility can be achieved through part-time employment, shift schedule options, changeable start/end times to accommodate family needs (children drop-off/pick-up times), and paid sick leave.

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Develop clear and reasonable maternity leave policies

WHY? It’s the law to have maternity leave policy. Making that policy clear, generous and accessible means that you can attract family-minded and loyal recruits.

HOW? Ensure that you meet the legal requirements of the employment standard acts. As an employer, you are required to post at least one copy of the most recent Employment Standards Act poster in an eye-catching, high traffic area in the workplace. Consider how your company can go above and beyond. Examples attached. (Appendix 2.Q)

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Assess and Develop Workplace Culture

WHY? Workplace culture surveys are useful for organizations as they have capability to reveal the moods, opinions, and suggestions of employees. This information can be used to improve the environment of a workplace. By collecting anonymous data from your employers, your organization can address any issues that take place at work. The document can be made in an electronic version to disguise writing and can also be made into an online survey to be analyzed more efficiently.

The UK Resource Centre for Women (UKRC) has developed a “Culture Change Model” (feature below) outlining the steps organizations can take to improve their organizational culture. The list of actions is not exhaustive; please contact UKRC for more information and advice.

Identify Your Company Goals

Gain commitment at all levels

Analyze workplace culture

Develop an action plan

Review policies and procedures

Flexible working

Gender equality training

Networking and mentoring


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Address Harassment

WHY? It’s the law. The Government of Ontario has mandated in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS section 32.0.1 9b and 9c) that employers must prepare and review a policy on workplace harassment.

Harassment in the workplace is quite prevalent buy is usually not recognized as such. The culture at some companies tolerates pornographic calendars, pictures and stickers, foul language, sexual and sexist remarks and stares, as well as offensive jokes. If you haven’t receive a complaint about harassment, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist in your workplace.


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Publicize Your Success

WHY? First, diverse workplaces attract diverse talent. When it is public knowledge that your company values the contributions of women, you are more likely to receive applications from a broader variety of workers, with a broader variety of skills. Second, the availability of this information will help other employers identify practices that work so they can also implement these practices and help to break down barriers for women to get into the skilled trades.

HOW? If you have a website, include profiles and case studies of women in your workplace. Example of articles about successful women in skilled trades attached (Appendix 2.N)