On 18th September as part of Suffrage 125 Week celebrations, the Tauranga Business Women’s Network held a lunchtime panel discussion on ‘Redefining Workplace Roles’.
Heather Jones, Trudy Green and Grace Lowe spoke about working in traditionally male-dominated industries to a group of around 40 women at the Tauranga Club.
Together with her brother, Trudy Green owns and operates MT Green Contracting, a local earthmoving business. She advocates that women should go after anything they want to do, and not let anyone hold them back. From experience, she said there have been times that she has needed to stand up for herself, however now she has definitely earned the respect she gets and deserves.
Heather Jones was Armourguard’s first female security officer. She now runs Aegis Security, her own highly successful private security company, managing security for a number of events and sites.
Her story was similar to Trudy’s in having faced challenges at times with being a woman in the industry. She often faced prejudice from others (and not just men) in her line of work and in regard to being recognised as the business owner. Both women found that people often approached their male colleagues when asking to speak to the boss and were a little surprised to find out that it was Heather or Trudy.
The final member of the panel was 19-year-old Grace Lowe, who is the only female mechanical engineering apprentice at Page Macrae Engineering.
To date, her experience has been quite different from the other women. She feels everyone has been very accepting of her and she has been treated in exactly the same way as the other apprentices. However, she does wear bright pink work boots to highlight that she is the only female in the workshop.
She accidentally fell into the trade when a course she applied for was full and now loves the practical hands-on nature of the job. She says more needs to be done at high schools to promote the trades as a career opportunity for females.
The clear message coming through the discussion was if you are determined enough you can do anything you can put your mind to, you just need to stand strong and ‘Go for It’!
They provided great inspiration for all in the room and we left with a sense that we could all conquer the world!