Common Questions

Why do women need something different?

Why do women need something different?

Often women entering trades which have been historically a male domain, have had less practical experience, and therefore less confidence. They need an environment that enables them to build confidence and competence without feeling judged.  Women have different ways of learning compared to men, and can benefit from female led tuition which is tailored to them. Women are less likely than men to put themselves forward, and can be empowered to do so with support. They face different challenges in daily life that affect how they are able to work and learn. 
Frequently a woman in the stone trade may be the sole female in a team, so WISA can provide an opportunity to share specific challenges and solutions faced primarily by women. 
There are many specific groups to encourage women entering some trades, followed by support after joining one.  We look forward to the day when there are so many women working in stone trades that the overall culture becomes gender inclusive, so that a group like this shall be no longer needed.

Why can’t you just make changes in current organisations?

WISA has been established because women, men and the trades will all benefit from more women getting involved. Existing organisations haven’t achieved substantial female involvement to date, so we need a dedicated resource for now. 
We don’t see it as an either/or situation, as the intention is to work collaboratively with all established organisations to create a more gender inclusive industry, to increase women’s value and advancement.

What do you hope to get that you don’t get from existing associations?

This alliance will directly encourage more women in to stone work, through shining a light on their important role in the trade.  “If you can see it – you can be it”.
To provide opportunities and develop skills, gaining support from others with common goals. 
To encompass all aspects of traditional stonework, allowing links and networking across the industry. This has the potential to strengthen traditional stone trades in general, capitalising on opportunities as they arise, and working together to address issues of concern. 
The unique experience of working in women centred groups enables a different and often more involved learning experience.

So what are the needs of women then?

A great question which needs to be asked more often, Women having the chance to be heard and provide input, is the first stage of any process of change. 
Some of the comments we have heard from women working in the stone trade are the same as from other historically male trades. Women want supportive, non-judgemental, non-competitive training and work environments, to see women in leadership roles within the trade, gender- fair language and appropriate PPE tools and equipment. Women are keen to work with and be trained by other women.
Most importantly women want a voice, a presence, to be seen and heard, and a fair opportunity to get involved and engaged in the various processes within the craft, from training to employment.

How do I get involved?

That's fabulous that you're keen to get involved.  There's lots of ways to engage, you can follow our blog to get updates, message us directly through our contact form and also complete our survey - so we can make sure we provide the type of activities and support that women are looking for. The link to our survey is on our home page.