Would you hire a female plumber?

If  your boiler breaks down or you have a problem with your electronics, would you be happy if a female plumber or electrician turned up on your doorstep to fix the problem?

Recent research revealed that a record number of trade workers – including builders, plumbers and plasterers – are now women.

In fact, female workers – dubbed “white van women” – now account for almost 6 per cent of the industry, according to the findings from Ironmongery Direct.

The research claims the surge is down to an increase in women turning to DIY to improve their properties.

Here we take a closer look at our attitudes towards the people we hire to help us with jobs around our own homes.

hy you might choose a woman…

Some people might prefer a female tradesperson to a male, because they view women as more likely to pay attention to detail and to do a careful and well-executed job – and to tidy up once they’re finished.

At the same time, some individuals might feel safer with a female plumber or builder in their homes; this may be especially true of women or the elderly who are home alone when the work is being done.

Female tradespeople might also be the preferred choice for those who think women are more reliable and punctual, better able to multi-task, and superior at customer service.

Trust is another area where women can fare well, as they can often put people at ease far more quickly; they may also be viewed as less likely to be patronising.

Who will charge more to get the job done?

Perhaps, the more telling question when it comes to the “men v women” debate relates to who we reckon will charge more?

Traditionally, men are better at playing hard ball – yet women are better at negotiating – so maybe this depends on how good you are at standing your ground when you come to talking costs.

At the same time, some people may feel they are less likely to get ripped off by a woman – and that a rogue builder is more likely to be male than female.

It’s a man’s world

But before we get too carried away by all these gender stereotypes, some will surely argue that traditionally, men have dominated the trade service, and have done a pretty good job of it.

With this in mind, it’s worth asking yourself whether, in all honesty, there are certain jobs you’d maybe rather hire a man to do?

For some people – no matter how “right on” they consider themselves to be when it comes to gender equality – the answer to that question might just be “yes.”

So why might this be?

Limited opportunities

One of the issues for women builders, plumbers and electricians is the fact that in the past, there have been fewer opportunities to take on roles in the “trades” than there have been for men.

Anecdotally, women tradespeople talk about struggling to get job placements and fair pay in this long male-dominated industry.

That said, there are signs that attitudes in this area of work are changing, with a rise in the number of women now enrolling on trade courses and getting jobs in the industry.

This, in turn, could start to alter our attitudes towards the people we call up to help us get our DIY done.

And finally..

At the end of the day, the most important consideration when it comes to choosing a plumber, regardless of whether they are male or female, is whether or not they have the skills to do a good-quality job.

What matters is that you feel you’ve been treated well as a customer, and that the work has been completed to your satisfaction, at a price you’re happy to pay.

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  1. Sara

    5 years ago

    “some will surely argue that traditionally, men have dominated the trade service, and have done a pretty good job of it”

    oh yes, you mean the great reputation for punctuality, customer service and value for money that plumber, electricians etc currently have ….

    Like many other male-dominated professions (MPs? bankers? judges?) the sooner there are a lot more women involved, the sooner standards will improve!

    1. David Wakley

      5 years ago

      I have pondered this for years. I am an atheist and have always treated women & people of other ethnic origins as fairly as I would anybody else, and as fairly as I would expect to be treated myself, to me there is no difference, we are all people (and nor is it my place to discriminate over any other individual, I might add). I feel no desire in my existence to feel superiority over any other & I have fought inequality/race issues within my own family to the point of falling out, and I cannot abide our current system of patriarchy, because I am a humanist. However, that said, I feel it disillusional to consider for one moment, when I read copy like this that people consider that women, if a matriarchal system of society should come to pass would not end up becoming the epitomy of belligerence that our patriarchal dominance has so far achieved. I feel that there is a confusion over a relationship to gender that is more so to do with a position of power over said gender, and the inequalities inherent within such that, whilst being perfectly right in their complaint, do so in a manner that is paying little attention to the issue of the position of power & the inequalities that the position itself throws up. Vis a vis. Replace the men in power with the women in power & give it 50 years, we’ll end up with the same shit.

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