An avowed “girl girl” mason is determined to show “sexists” who accuse her of “bringing building down to earth”, that she can do a “man’s job” and that she still likes to be glamorous at the weekend.
Construction worker Nicole Carlin claims that she has had to defend herself against “sexist” comments and assumptions that she must be a “tomboy” since she began her training in 2017.
The 22-year-old says the narrow-minded comments range from strangers branding her as “the downfall of the industry” to asking why she doesn’t “get the tea” for Nicole.
But Nicole never lets people’s ignorance stop her and quickly hits back on haters who she believes are just “afraid” of being defeated by a woman.
And the young master builder loves to prove the opposite to those who believe that she cannot be “girlish” because of her job, and in her free time she swaps high-visibility protection and hard hats for hair and nail appointments.
Nicole from Glasgow, Lanarkshire said: “I tend to find the older generation having more problems with being a bricklayer.
“They have older traditional ways as they are used to things being a certain way – women have never been seen on websites before.
“You can get a little sexist. You get comments, sometimes you hear things like, ‘Why aren’t you getting some tea?’
“Once someone said that what I do was a ‘man’s role’ and that if I were the new type of bricklayer the building would ‘fall to the ground’.
“At that moment I surprised myself. I am not as sensitive as I thought when I replied, ‘Well, if you feel uncomfortable or threatened with women taking on the roles, maybe the problem is with you. Maybe are you afraid of a girl. ” could do better ”.
“When people find out I’m a bricklayer, they make assumptions. Usually they think about how heavy something is and whether I can lift it.
“People definitely assume I’m a tomboy because I work in construction.
“I’m still girly, but you can’t really show that at work. Outside of work, I like to do my hair, my make-up, my eyelashes and so on.”
While she had to deal with many naysayers, Nicole received a lot of support in her job, especially from other women.
The support and encouragement from women around her has made Nicole more determined than ever to inspire other girls to get into the industry.
Nicole said, “My main goal is to break some myths that it’s only a man’s job and I want girls to know that this is a great career choice that is definitely worth considering.
“There are four other girls in my company – a carpenter and three painters. There are many more girls applying for construction professions.
“Any woman I have met, either at work, in college, in meetings or anywhere, we are all very supportive and it is really nice to meet other women in the construction industry.
“I feel lucky as sexism hasn’t affected me much, but that’s probably because of the support system I have around me.
“Much more people today are open to the idea of a mason.
“Most people are intrigued and just ask why and how I became a bricklayer.”
Nicole’s interest in building began in her teens when her friends from other schools started doing woodwork for their GCSEs.
Disappointed to find that her school didn’t offer anything similar, Nicole scolded her family and her uncle suggested they look to college classes.
While her family was “shocked” when makeup-loving Nicole returned with a dream of starting her current career path, they supported her every step of the way.
Nicole graduated from a construction school and is now close to the end of a three-year apprenticeship with an additional Advance Craft Award.
Nicole said, “Building is very practical, it’s very practical, which I really enjoy.
“What I enjoy most about masons are the people. You laugh well at work like that. The days fly by.
“When it’s sunny on a nice day, you can laugh.
“The first time I told my mother that I wanted to be a bricklayer, she was pretty shocked.
“I’ve always been very interested in my makeup and hair, so you could tell I was pretty girly. It was definitely shocking because of that aspect.
“But my family supported me. My mom in particular was very happy for me.”
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