International Women's Day and Women in Construction Week, part 1

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD)! This is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It’s also a day to call to action for accelerating women’s equality, originating 111 years ago in 1911. This year’s IWD theme is #BreakTheBias, promoting a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination – a world where difference is valued and celebrated. For the next 3 days, NorLand Limited is proud to spotlight three women across our business units to commemorate Women in Construction Week.

Today, we are starting with Lynsey Christianson (Technical Parts & Service Representative, Traxxon Foundation Equipment).

How did you get involved in this industry?

I always found the trades interesting as my father is a gas fitter with Fortis BC. From a young age, I always remember being interested in what he was doing and the tools he was buying. I started off as an Automotive Service Advisor and then went to complete the Trades Discovery for Women program at BCIT. There were many female instructors, who made for an empowering learning environment with my fellow classmates. After taking this program, it solidified for me that I wanted a career in the trades, specifically in the construction industry. I started right out of the gate with Traxxon Foundation Equipment as a Heavy Duty Mechanic Apprentice and have since moved over into my current role of Technical Parts and Service Representative.

This year’s IWD campaign theme is BreakTheBias. How do you think we can break the bias of gender norms in the construction industry?

I think to break the bias, we need to have inclusive hiring practices, and that you should be hired based on your skill and that gender should not come into the question. Women deserve to be in this industry, just as much as men. I know firsthand that as a young woman, going to site to fix a high value piece of equipment comes with its challenges. I think it’s important to have an inclusive place of work with co-workers willing to stand up for you and have your back. I have spent years proving myself but have been lucky enough to work for a company where the team/management always provides support and creates a safe work environment.

Based on your own experience, what advice would you give to other women considering pursuing a career in construction?

I would say absolutely go for it and network as much as you can. When I was at BCIT, I joined a Facebook group called BC Women in the Trades. This helped me become familiar with others in the industry, and it created a safe space to ask questions.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

It is a day to celebrate women, where we are at now and how far we have come, and to reflect on the history of women in society. This year we can celebrate the huge win of the US Women’s National Soccer team winning their fight for equal pay, which is a big step in the right direction.