Careers in the construction trades can provide high earnings and good benefits, often through a learn-while-you-earn apprenticeship. In 2020, more than 300,000 women worked in the trades—the largest number ever. Yet while their numbers are growing, women still make up fewer than one in twenty of workers in construction occupations.
This report draws on the voices and experiences of 2,635 tradeswomen and non-binary tradespeople who answered the 2021 IWPR Tradeswomen’s Retention and Advancement Survey. It discusses what factors help and hinder tradeswomen’s advancement in the trades, describes what it is like to be a parent in the trades, and shares the perspectives of women apprentices. The report highlights changes that are required to ensure that a diverse and growing cohort of women in the trades is supported and retained.