It’s entirely anecdotal, of which I’m always wary in a news story, but if it’s a true indicator of a larger problem then this is the type of story that depresses me.
A young woman, recently graduated from a trade programme in New Brunswick is moving to Alberta. Her reason? Employers won’t hire a woman. According to her story, one of the men who interviewed her for a position said:
‘I’m not having a 20-something-year-old girl running around here getting the attention from all the guys and creating problems with their wives and problems with my wife. So I’m not hiring any women,’
It is her mere existence, apparently, that would “create problems” for men and this, of course, is entirely her responsibility.
And so she’s taking her trade skills and going to Alberta, where she will likely make more money than the guy who refused to hire her, lest her wanton beauty drive him and his manly men to distraction.
And it’s New Brunswick’s loss. There is an idea among politicians and business leaders in my old home province that, if you want to stop the brain drain, you just need to offer more money to young people. But if one thing is true about Maritimers, it’s that they’re not driven necessarily by money. Yes, it is a motivating factor but the reason most people either come back to or stay in the Maritimes is the quality of life. You never may be rich and trendy but your house has a yard at least.
People also leave there for similar reasons. They want to experience a lifestyle that they don’t find at home. Perhaps something more urban, a faster pace, more multicultural, and with more opportunities to advance their career. And with more contemporary attitudes toward gender.
If New Brunswick wants to keep its skilled tradespeople, then it needs to jettison the quaintly antiquated attitudes toward women.
The Next Day – The story is being denied by the employer in question.