Building an Inclusive Future with Australian Female Tradies

Trends / Realness
Kate Rourke
Oct 12, 2022
Strategies to be more diverse and inclusive have been the focus for many brands and businesses in Australia for several years. The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development goals since 2015 still includes “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. We have witnessed progress for women’s equality and representation in Australia, however, gender diversity continues to be a prominent discussion both locally as well as globally, because quite simply we are not there yet.

And when it comes to visual representation, our VisualGPS consumer survey finds that 62% of women in Australasia still do not feel represented in media and advertising. Patterns seen in visuals used by businesses in Australia are still much more likely to feature men working than women.
“We know that greater connection is made with our community when we show real tradeswomen in our communications.”  
We all know the power a visual can have in shifting perceptions. As content creators, we are very aware of our responsibility to accurately reflect society and create content that challenges stereotypes so that brands can lead the way in changing perceptions. That’s why we worked with TWA (Tradeswomen Australia) to reflect real tradie women across Australia.1 We believe that diversity is important both in front and behind the camera and all five tradie women were shot by Louise Beaumont an Australian female photographer.

Tradies are quintessentially Australian, making up almost a third of the workforce.2 Our VisualGPS consumer survey has found that demand to feature more tradie women continues, with a 10% increase in visuals used in the last five years. We also know that brands are looking for more gender‑diverse stories in Australia. In the last 12 months alone there have been big upticks in the number of customers searching for “diverse women” “women in construction” “strong women” or “mature women”.  And we also know it grows deeper connections. Fiona McDonald, founder of Tradeswomen Australia said, "we know that greater connection is made with our community when we show real tradeswomen in our communications.”
These images come at a pivotal time for Australia’s trade industries which face persistent, national shortages of skilled labour and a critical need to lift female workforce participation. According to Tradeswomen Australia, women’s representation in core trades remains at less than 2%, with "lack of engagement" and "social misconceptions" key barriers to making trades an attractive career path for women.

This project features five different tradie women, from all over Australia, of various ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds and across different trades. One is a gardener, another is a mechanic, one is an aviation engineer, a plumber specialising in HVAC and an electrician. All the visuals feature them in their workplace, carrying out their everyday job. These are all real life depictions with no retouching at all. True life in all it's glory!

Whatever business you are in, you have the opportunity to break down gender stereotypes and use content that shapes a more inclusive society.

In case you needed any more data, in Australasia, 8 in 10 people expect brands and businesses to be consistently committed to diversity and inclusion, with a further 7 in 10 prefer to buy from brands that represent people like them. Now is the time to set an authentic standard for women.
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