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Canadian roofing crew seeks all-female members.

July 29, 2022
Canadian roofing crew seeks all-female members.

When Michele Vindum started having problems with her roof, she began searching for a company to replace it, under one condition: the roofing team would be exclusively women.

“I’ve always been very aware, as a woman who used to work in the sciences … that there are systemic barriers to women entering non-traditional trades,” Vindum said.

Vindum, who lives north of Belleville, Ontario, was on a search that led her to Samanntha De Coteau, a Welland, Ont., roofer who goes by “RooferGirl” on social media. 

Following Vindum’s contact, De Coteau contacted tradeswomen across the country. As a result, she has assembled the “Summit Sisters,” a group of women who advocate for a better representation of women in the trades.

“Everybody was just so interested in it, so supportive,” De Coteau explained. “All the girls said, ‘Yeah, I’ll come, I’ll do it.'”

It’s not just a man’s job anymore

It took De Coteau three-and-a-half hours to get to Belleville, and others came from Alberta and Saskatchewan to help with Vindum’s roof.

Traditional gender stereotypes can sometimes discourage women from learning a trade like roofing, says De Coteau. 

“Maybe they’re too intimidated because it’s considered a man’s job. Maybe they think they’re not strong enough. Maybe they think they can’t do it” De Coteau explained.

De Coteau said she was intimidated when starting out her career, as a roofer, but she’s thankful she persevered since her career in trades has been incredibly rewarding. 

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“I’ve always been up for supporting women and empowering women, especially in the trades, because that’s what empowered me and changed my life,” she added.

Vindum said the Summit Sisters did a great job despite never having worked together before.

“They did it in record time. And it’s absolutely beautiful,” she said. “The roof is fantastic.” 

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