The pipes are calling for aspiring female plumbers ”
Ten years ago, she was turned away for a plumbing apprenticeship by employers, who said it would be impossible for the mother of four. So she became an apprentice to her husband, Mark, and now runs her own business, with three out of five women employed.
She says there have been more positive interactions than negative interactions with her co-workers, but the sexual harassment is still there: she received abusive voice messages and once, working on a ladder on a construction site, a worker looked at Ms Smyth’s butt until her husband told her to stop.
Third-year apprentice Michaela Healey, 28, said she hadn’t been confronted with sexism from a plumber, but another worker, an older man, once told her that she didn’t had no place on a construction site “.
Ms Healey said after leaving school she was encouraged to become a caregiver and then a nurse, which did not suit her. She enjoyed problem solving and constantly learning about plumbing.
The Women in Plumbing campaign was “amazing,” she said, adding that she was convinced the number of women in the industry would increase.
She said the qualities required included initiative, not being afraid to ask questions and being willing to give it a try.
In the past, work “was not socially acceptable”, but women learned “that they can do whatever they want.” If they want to be plumbers, they can be plumbers ”.
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