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Dulux Academy highlights International Women’s Day

As part of its commitment to drive gender equality, Dulux Academy is celebrating International Women’s Day by highlighting the role women play in painting & decorating and growing awareness of the challenges they face to bring about positive change for female workers in the industry.

In support of this year’s theme of ‘Break the Bias’ for International Women’s Day, Dulux Academy has teamed up with On The Tools – the largest online construction based community in the UK – to create the Women On The Tools whitepaper, which identifies the challenges faced by tradeswomen in painting & decorating and construction. The report also looks at how these industries can adapt to make them a safer environment for women and encourage more females to join.

Vickie Mather, Dulux Academy Lead at AkzoNobel, said: “Looking at these findings, it’s clear that more must be done by the painting & decorating industry to end discrimination against women once and for all. For many women, there remains a large barrier to joining the trade due to perception and gender bias. There’s also an overall lack of positive representation of female trade professionals, meaning that many women feel that the industry isn’t open to them.

“At AkzoNobel, we’re leading the charge for inclusion across all areas of our business and the wider painting & decorating sector. We’re dedicated to positively showcasing the brilliant women working in our industry to further normalise painting & decorating as a career option, break down stigma, and inspire the next generation of tradeswomen.”

With women currently making up just 20% of industry appliers, Dulux Academy is strengthening its commitment to supporting female decorators with incentives that promote the success and achievements of tradeswomen, while also highlighting the benefits of choosing painting & decorating as a profession. It will also continue to offer both online and face-to-face training courses that meet the needs of female decorators looking for more flexible work options to fit around their family and other commitments. Over 40% of trade professionals currently learning with Dulux Academy online are female, while women make up 20% of Academy attendees on face-to-face courses.    

As part of this activity, Dulux Academy will develop in-depth case studies showcasing the work being carried out by female decorators across the UK. This includes Rachel Bates, a Dulux Select Decorator and owner of BATES&MiSONS in Chard, Somerset. After becoming a single mum in 2014, Rachel pursued a new career in painting & decorating to provide more flexibility to support her family. She now runs a highly successful business providing high quality services, specialising in areas such as wallpapering and airless and HVLP spraying. Rachel was also the recipient of two awards at the Dulux Select Decorators Awards 2020, winning in the Adding Colour to People’s Lives and Wallpaper Project under £1,500 categories.  

Dulux Academy is providing further support to tradeswomen through its Dulux Academy – Women in Decorating Facebook group, a forum where female decorators can meet, discuss and share expertise in a private, safe and friendly environment. Launched in January, the Dulux Academy – Women in Decorating group aims to support and celebrate women in painting & decorating roles, exploring relevant topics and working together to make the trade more appealing for women. Tradeswomen can join the group by following the link here.

In addition, Dulux Academy’s Vickie Mather joined a panel of leading industry experts at a virtual decorating festival this month to raise further awareness of the issues currently facing women in painting & decorating. In her talk, Vickie discussed topics ranging from the industry skills gap and gender imbalance, as well as how the industry can make improvements to encourage younger females to join the trade.

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