Canadian Women Electricians

An Interview:

Nathalie Soullière, Construction Worker and Member of Electrical Workers’ Union

I am an electrician and a member of the electrical workers’ union (FIPOE). I also have my welder’s cards. I am a member of the FIPOE’s Women’s Committee that meets a few times a year to discuss various issues, mostly those faced by women. Our job is to provide resources and make them aware of the resources that exist to help them. Some women have difficulty getting accepted into their workplace. There are employers who do not want them. The committee did a survey of women workers to find out their expectations for the committee. Many told us they can’t get work, that not all employers are interested in hiring a women. Either they are not hired, or are not called back. In the construction industry, when the job is finished, it’s “bye-bye, go home.”

A major problem, and it’s not just a problem for women, is work-family balance. It is not easy for women who are single parents and for men who are in the same situation, with the hours we do. For example, tomorrow morning I start working at 6:30 am in Montreal and I live 45 minutes from my place of work. There is no daycare open at this time. I’m fine because my daughters are old enough to be independent, but for single parents with preschool children, that’s a big problem. The construction industry is not always well-suited to these conditions.

I think we need to continue to increase the number of women in construction, but we have to make sure they have the training and the knowledge they require.

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