Ask any women raising a family what she really wants – if she could have anything at all – for Mother’s Day, and the honest response may be something like this:
She wants it to be a little easier. She wants to spend better time with her children and get more sleep. She wants satisfaction from work or a career, and to be able to save for someone’s education while still having a few dollars left over at the end of each week.
She wants a miracle.
Common to every wish on this list is the challenge of reconciling the needs of family with the needs of prospective employers. This is especially true in communities like Princeton. The economy is driven by industry, which is where many of the best-paying jobs are found.
Securing affordable daycare is a struggle for parents everywhere. But when Mom needs to drop the kids off in the morning while it’s still dark, or has to swing regularly between day and night shifts, it’s nigh impossible.
In recent years an awareness of the need to attract women to trade and manufacturing jobs has surfaced.
Both the federal and B.C. governments recently invested in multi-million dollar programs to support women entering these fields. Companies have expressed the desire to recruit women and create diversity in their workplaces.
It’s all great. However a Red Seal is useless if you can’t actually get to the jobsite.
Consider the following facts from Statistics Canada.
Women account for less than five per cent of people working in skilled trades.
They comprise 14 per cent of those employed in the mining industry, and 13 per cent of workers in forestry and logging.
Drawing back to hearth and home, Moms spend nearly twice the number of hours each day on tasks directly related to child care than Dads – 1.9. And they engage in 3.6 hours each day of unpaid labour – 50 per cent more than their male partners.
There are more than half a million Canadian families led by single mothers.
It’s fair to say that heavy industry and the trades don’t easily lend themselves to strategies like flex time and mommy tracking. These are solutions that have made it possible for women to balance work and life in a nine-to-five world.
That said, a creative and out-of-the-box approach to making these jobs more accessible and attractive for women would benefit both families and employers.