Girls are just as 'switched on' when it comes to trades
IF YOU hired an electrician would you think twice if the "handyman'' at your door turned out to be a woman?
With an estimated 50 female electrical apprentices working in the industry across Australia, a Beerwah business aimed to change attitudes to females working in trades.
Mingleford Electrical Contractors founder Andy Aitchison had worked in the industry for 48 years but never alongside a female tradie.
He was quick to recognise his industry was not exactly female-friendly when it came to hiring apprentices.
"It is looked at as a male occupation, I've never worked alongside a woman in my time," Mr Aitchison said.
"There are not many female electrical apprentices in Australia at all."
Despite this he felt women could do the job just as well as men, something he hoped to prove with the help of his daughter-in-law Sarah Dahm, who recently accepted the challenge of becoming an electrical apprentice.
Fortunately Ms Dahm was unafraid when it came to tackling the trades. She has previously worked as a butcher on top of being the handywoman at home.
Despite her own success she admitted it was rare to see women given a fair go in trades.
"My father was a butcher so I worked in his shop for three years. Everyone used to freak out about it but I've always been one to fix everything myself," she said.
"As much as the world is changing, it is hard for females to stand in front of men and have them judge them on their skills."
While she was confident as a bit of an all-round handywoman, Ms Dahm said she still encountered those who felt her job was better suited to men.
"As much as I'd love to say it isn't, sexism is still very much in play," she said.
"Coming from years of being told that I couldn't do things because I was a woman there is self-satisfaction knowing that just because I have boobs doesn't mean I can't do the work."
Despite receiving a few odd looks from customers when she rocks up to jobs, Ms Dahm said the challenge of proving herself was worth it.
"Don't let anyone tell you you can't do something because of your gender. That's nonsense," she said.