Move over boys, there’s a gap in the plumbing industry for women and they are ready to fill it!
Watch this cool music video:
An article in The Independent reveals this quite clearly with statements like “Anyone who can give birth is stronger than they look”, “women can do the heavy work” and “women make the best plumbers because they realise the importance of respect” by experienced West Yorkshire-based plumber, Hattie Hasan.
Why female plumbers?
Carol Cannavan, secretary of the Institute of Plumbing and Engineering’s Women in Plumbing Group, once told the BBC that there is a great demand for female plumbers and that more women should be supported into the industry. She said that some sections of society feel more comfortable with a woman plumber, such as certain religious groups. In her experience, customers have often asked specifically for female plumbers and this shows a need for them.
An Equal Opportunities Commission report has stated that 12% of people would feel safer and more relaxed hiring a female plumber.
Plumbing companies have said that there is a need for woman plumbers as customers feel secure around them and can relate to them. The elderly, in particular, feel more comfortable allowing a female plumber into their home.
Some say that men are happy because it’s a woman at home with their wife or, if they’re the ones at home, they feel that they are less likely to be judged because they cannot perform the plumbing task themselves.
How easy is it for females to enter the plumbing industry?
The Equal Opportunities Commission is trying to combat skills shortage and the under-representation of females in this industry by encouraging more women to complete plumbing courses.
The UK Commission for Employment and Skills has reported that £23 billion could be added to the British economy if more women enter into the workplace, thus helping the nation to recover from the recession.
The UK’s biggest name in vocational education, City & Guilds, places no restrictions on the number of women allowed to take their plumbing courses. In fact, the organisation is actively encouraging more women to enrol.
Why aren’t there more female plumbers?
Summit Skills, the Sector Skills Council for the building services engineering sector in the UK, has estimated that there are approximately 160 000 plumbers in the UK but less than one percent are female.
In Hong Kong, Equal Opportunities Commission chairman, Lam Woon-Kwong, has said that, in his years in the public sector, he has seen females holding back their career advancement as they don’t want to outshine their spouses and want to devote more time to their families. At the launch of a women’s leadership program, Woon-Kwong said, “It’s free choice but I hope that is not a conscious choice conditioned by social stereotypes disguised as free choice”.
Hasan is aware of the myths around female plumbers that are holding them back from entering the industry and realises that the industry still has a long way to go. She has said that many people mistakenly believe that women are not strong enough to deal with the manual labour aspect of plumbing and that it is not a job that is economically sustainable as only women hire women plumbers.
Cannavan believes that more needs to be done to challenge the perception that plumbing is strictly a male profession. She said, “I think it is about getting information into schools and making it clear that it’s not just one career, there are so many different things you could become within the industry.”
So for all women who are interested in becoming plumbers but are allowing those myths to get in the way, maybe it’s time to prove society wrong? The economy, workplace and educational institutions are all desperate to have you after all!
Here are links to some promo videos from Stopcocks Women Plumbers, a national organisation of highly skilled Women Plumbers:
Here are contact details for some female plumbers in the UK:
Tel: 020 8670 0342
Tel: 020 7684 2006
Girlz on Tap
Tel: 01273 248 744
Tel: 01923 283 421