Lady Tradies: Roxanne Danaghey

Construction is the most male-dominated industry in Australia, with women making up only 12 per cent of the workforce and even less in operational roles. Surprisingly, despite measures for diversity this gap is getting worse, not better.

Roxanne is one of the rare female Tradies who, at the tender age of 21, hung up the heels as a medical receptionist to enter the male-dominated world of earthmoving and has never looked back, especially now in her role at Axle’s Earthmoving.

“The truck is my office and I love it,” Roxanne said.

Having now worked in the industry for 10 years, she loves the variety of her workplace but admits that the older male population in particular are still struggling to accept female co-workers, especially younger women.

“They sometimes believe they don’t belong in the industry,” she said.

Roxanne believes women shouldn’t be discouraged from entering the field as people become extremely accepting of you once you showcase the skills you can offer. She encourages young women to “have no fear,” and step into this industry as it offers so many benefits.

I enrolled in a few truck driving lessons and passed my licence first time! It cost me $3,000 which at the time was a lot of money to someone relying on a receptionist wage, but upon reflection now 10 years later, it was the best $3,000 I ever spent!

These days I mostly drive the trucks and sometimes some of the machines, although truck driving is really my specialty. The truck is my office and I love it.

There is not much done to directly target young women for these roles. This causes the reduced visibility of a trade being a career option for women due to the lack of exposure outside of meeting someone who works in the industry by chance.

I think companies are recognising the need to develop a strategy to increase the number of women in “non-traditional” roles. They need to have job advertisements that actually attract women to the industry and also publicise case studies of successful women in these industries as there are so many inspirational stories to be told.

At Axle’s, every day is different and I am always learning. Also, the crew and the team are really accepting of me. The crew has a great moral and we have lots of fun bantering and playing practical jokes throughout the day. Axle’s treats everyone equally and fairly, which I really appreciate. I don’t want to be singled out any more than what I am.