Building a foundation of respect - Part 4 | BuildForce Canada

Building a foundation of respect - Part 4

The challenges:

  • Attracting and retaining tradeswomen to the industry
  • Perceptions of unwelcoming workplaces is identified as a reason why women do not enter our industry
  • Harassment, bullying and discrimination against tradeswomen is identified as a reason why they leave our industry

The solution:

  • Understanding the causes of harassment, bullying and discrimination against tradeswomen
  • Creating a workplace culture that respects all workers as individuals, including tradeswomen

Cultural stereotypes about gender are linked to harassment:

  • We consciously and unconsciously absorb our cultural stereotypes and this affects our behaviour.
  • Harassment is linked to prejudice and stereotypes about "outsider" groups in general.
  • Sexual harassment is linked to prejudice and gender stereotypes.
  • Because of stereotyped views that women are the "weaker sex" not capable of technical or trades work, men who have stereotyped views may have difficulty accepting tradeswomen as equals.
  • In addition, the stereotype that women are flattered by sexual innuendo at work or that men must be sexually aggressive and women compliant, may also contribute to sexual harassment.


  1. Commit resources to developing effective policies.
  2. Assign responsibility for implementation.
  3. Tie performance reviews to implementation goals.
  4. Provide training to all levels in the organization.
  5. Re-enforce the message in all hiring and promotion procedures.
  6. Repeat the message frequently through tool box talks, newsletters and events.



OUR NEXT INSTALLMENT: Celebrating Canadian women in tradeswork on Canada's 150th anniversary

Previous installment: What can you do to encourage respect in your workplace?



  • Canadian Centre for Diversity & Inclusion. Understanding Hidden Bias. 2014. Webinar.
  • Construction Owner's Association of Alberta. Respect in the Workplace Program. 2011.
  • Construction Sector Council. The State


Status of Women Canada logo
This project has been funded by Status of Women Canada.