Encouraging women into trade apprenticeships will help the nation to emerge from the economic downturn in a better position than when it began, says the Minister of Women's Affairs, Pansy Wong.
New Zealand needs to upskill across the board and also break down the gender divisions in the workforce, she says.
While some might argue that males and females naturally lean towards different occupations, Mrs Wong believes they are too often influenced by parents, and friends.
"Girls may want to get into the trades but they don't know anyone doing it."
She wants to see more role models like 20-year-old Shelley Weaver, from Wellington, who will complete her three-year apprentice in plumbing and gas fitting this year.
I've put this up partly in response to the point Psycho Milt has raised in comments here about pay equity; that individual women need to choose better paid professions. When we have a Minister of Women's Affairs who doesn't seem to care about pay equity across the board, perhaps he's right.