Breakthrough for women in skills trades on P.E.I.

Published on March 1, 2017

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Women’s Network P.E.I. has announced huge gains have been made in regards to gender equity in the trades in P.E.I.

In 2009, only a few women worked in the skilled trades and industrial technology in the province.

With such low numbers, the sector was projected to see equal numbers of women and men working in the trades in 276 years. Thanks to a shared effort, spearheaded by Women’s Network P.E.I., the province is now on track to see that happen in just 45 years.

Research and first-hand evidence indicates that the face of poverty is female. Traditionally, male jobs tend to pay more money.

In 2010, Women’s Network of P.E.I., in partnership with Skills P.E.I. and the interministerial women’s secretariat, developed the Trade HERizons career exploration program. The goal of the program is to increase the number of women in trades and industrial technology occupations in P.E.I.

Continues below:


Women’s Network P.E.I.

- Small non-profit social justice organization

- Founded in 1981

- Works to strengthen and support community efforts to improve the status of women

- In 2009, the province of P.E.I. through the interministerial women’s secretariat and office of apprenticeship partnered with the network to develop Trade HERizons

- Goal of Trade HERizons is to increase the number of women in the trades and industrial technology sectors

- Trade HERizons introduces women to careers in trades and industrial technology. Participants develop essential skills and get the tools and confidence to change their lives

- The network offered Trade HERizons for the first time in January 2010.

- In 2012, the network did a needs assessment on employment and gender gaps in trades and technology on P.E.I. called Bricks and Mortar.

- The report identified that while finding labour is the greatest challenge in P.E.I. women don’t leave the province in search of work nearly to the extent men do.


Since then, more than 120 women have completed Trade HERizons, and Holland College’s enrolment rates for women in trades and industrial technology programs have more than doubled.

“We knew we were making strides but these numbers are well beyond our expectations,’’ says Sara Roach-Lewis, creator of the Trade HERizons program. “It is very exciting to see the hard work paying off in such a big way.’’

This increase led Women’s Network P.E.I. to ask how long it would take to reach equal numbers of men and women in the trades.

Grace Lore, a PhD candidate in political science at the University of British Columbia, did the calculations for the network based on enrolment numbers in trades and industrial technology programs at Holland College.

Lore’s calculations indicate that the equality mark had decreased from 276 years to 45 years.

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