It’s well known that there is a HUGE shortage of skilled labour in the trades right now, with less than 3% (as of 2015) of workers in the construction industry being women. Associated Builders and Contractors estimates that we will need 1.6 million new skilled workers between now and 2022.
In an effort to combat and rectify this shortage, many are calling for increased female participation in the sector. Supporting women in construction would be an ideal solution: it would double the number of available people required to fill the overwhelming number of open positions.
However, increasing the female workforce in the industry does call for some significant changes, most notably Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
To date, the construction industry has been primarily male-driven. Consequently, the majority of workwear has been designed with men in mind. To adequately support current and prospective women in the trades, safe proper-fitting PPE must be available. At present, women who enter the trades are often left with no choice but to wear ill-fitting, uncomfortable workwear.
Why does this matter?
We are safest at work when we wear properly fitting PPE. For instance, experts warn that wearing ill-fitting, uncomfortable footwear can have long-lasting negative health impacts on your feet and back. There are countless articles and videos available that discuss these risks. However, when it comes to properly fitting safety boots, women are often required to wear boots designed for men. This poses a substantial issue: men and women’s feet, generally speaking, are different in terms of shape and size. Wearing boots that do not accommodate the shape of your feet can be damaging.
So we are left in a position where we WANT to encourage women to participate in the trades and construction industries, but there is little support to safely engage them in these roles.
The Solution: Tiga Workwear
Tiga Workwear aims to resolve the problem of ill-fitting, uncomfortable safety footwear. Their brand’s signature safety boots are specifically designed for women. The idea was born from its two founders, who in their work experience, frequently encountered the issue of finding comfortable stylish work boots.
“Finding women’s safety boots was difficult. The ones we found were heavy, ugly, and fit poorly. We asked around and everyone had the same answer – that it was impossible to find a comfortable pair of stylish safety boots.”
–Susan Rubin, Co-Founder, Tiga Workwear
Tiga Workerwear boots meet all Canadian (Grade 1 CSA) and American (ASTM 2414-05) safety standards without compromising comfort, practicality, or style. They offer all the protection you’d come to expect from a good pair of work boots, such as compression and crush protection from the lightweight composite toe, non-slip soles, puncture protection, as well as electric shock, and acid resistance.
“We designed the boots to be lightweight and comfortable.”
– Susan Rubin, Co-Founder, Tiga Workwear
The boots are designed for a woman’s foot with a narrower toe box than a man’s boot, giving wearers a safe, comfortable fit.
The best part? They’re an attractive boot. They’re a safely boot you’ll want to show off. They come in three colours: garnet, sand, and lapis instead of the stereotypical pink. Instead of pushing traditionally ‘girly’ colours on women, Tiga Workwear gives women stylish and comfortable options.
“We are inspired by women that want to work to their maximum ability and are not held back by stereotypes. We want [our wearer’s] to be noticed for [their] strengths and capabilities — not for [their] gender.”
-Susan Rubin, Co-Founder, Tiga Workwear
Breaking Down the Gender Bias
If we want more women to actively participate in the trades and construction industry, it’s important that we offer quality workwear to enable them to safely fill these roles. Breaking down the gender bias in the industry isn’t an easy feat, but it’s companies like Tiga Workwear that are taking the necessary steps to help women feel more comfortable (literally) in the workplace.