The Inspiring Story Of How Western Australian Women Are Gaining Power As Lady Tradies

It’s a glorious time for female tradies, as 3 states of Australia, Queensland, the Northern Territory, and Western Australia are currently observing a female to male ratio of 1:6 among tradies. Tradies colloquially refers to the electricians and mechanics of the nation or those who can perform skilled labour. To cite an example, we have a Perth electrician Mel Moore, who at the age of 26, has completed her apprenticeship in electrical work in her hometown of Britain and has successfully requalified here in Australia.

During her early days she was met with a lot of surprise when she revealed what her job was. Not many people, even in this forward-thinking community, are too accepting of an electrician of the female gender. Although this may be the case, this Perth electrician notes that the number of people who disapprove of this is relatively low. Most of the male electricians, although shocked at first, generally treat her just like any other electrician, once she lets them know that she is just as skilled as them at the job. One peculiar observation she has made though, is that most of the women customers she meets are glad to have her working in their houses. At the young age of 26, she runs her business doing the trifecta of industrial, residential and commercial work, not limiting herself to just quick electrical fixes, but working on larger projects such as solar cell installation and substation work.

As another example, we have Nadine Cripps. Having been rejected at the age of 17 from studying mechanics at TAFE, she has now completed her 3rd year working as a marine fitter at Austal, a shipbuilding company at Henderson. She was the daughter of a fisherman, and so loved to get her hands dirty with the boat’s components, sometimes taking them apart, and putting them back together. After the initial rejection, she spent a few years working as a waitress and a bartender. But she came back to Australia and now that she’s much older, she has found that it is easier to earn respect in this industry that has for decades been dominated by males.