Tooting woman backing female plumbers and electricians as tradesmen only speak to her husband

Anna Moynihan and her husband Paul Moynihan
-Credit: (Image: TaskHer)

A Tooting woman and her husband have set up a platform championing tradeswomen who are often overlooked in the construction world. Anna Moynihan, 42, and her husband Paul Moynihan started TaskHer in 2022 after they were made redundant from their jobs in marketing for event planning and start-ups during Covid.

Less than five per cent of tradies are women, Anna said - the lowest of any industry - and so they started the company to help encourage more women and girls to join the sector. They now have 50 tradeswomen on their roster and have completed over 1,800 jobs across London.

It all began when Anna and Paul decided to make some renovations at home in 2020. Anna was project managing the work - finding tradies online and looking for quotes - but noticed a 'frustrating' element to it all.

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TaskHer tradies
TaskHer currently has 50 women electricians, plumbers and heating gas engineers on its roster -Credit:TaskHer

She said: "They [tradespeople] would come to our house to give us a quote to do work and they'd always speak to my husband when they arrived. It really annoyed me because I was like 'I'm the one that you've spoken to this entire time and he hasn't really got a clue what's going on'.

"Then I wondered why I hadn't even considered a female, I was always thinking tradesmen - that's the kind of language that we use." After they were made redundant in Covid they banded together Anna's skills in marketing and Paul's experience with start-ups and sought to help fill the rift between men and women in the construction trade.

They took an innovative tack on their entrance to the construction world. Anna said: "We have the skills that tradespeople don't essentially. Most tradespeople are incredible with their hands and incredible at their jobs but the majority of tradespeople aren't good at marketing themselves.

A tradeswomen screwing in a lightbulb
Anna believes that the reason there are so few women in trades jobs is because of attitudes in schools and of parents -Credit:TaskHer

"And especially women, they aren't great at marketing themselves - they often underquote for their work as well because women in trade are few and far between so they end up being priced down. They earn less in general than tradesmen so it was something we knew we could support with our skill set."

As with many progressive company goals, there has been a certain pushback. Anna said that commenters online sometimes see it as discrediting male tradies who make up the majority of the workforce but she made sure to say that this was not the case.

A tradeswoman fixing a sink
"We are not anti-men," Anna said. "We are about normalising women in trade." -Credit:TaskHer

She said: "We are about normalising women in trade - we are not anti-men, we are not against tradesmen. The majority of the tradeswomen that we work with are trained by men. It's not about women being scared of men, it's about the fact that it's 2024 and this is a completely outdated industry and that we're here to support and encourage people to change opinions and thoughts on women in trade and how they're completely capable in the same way that men are."

One of the ways they hope to push this encouragement for women and girls to join the construction trade is by visiting schools where Anna believes the foundations of the disparity between men and women in trade are forged. Anna said that there is currently a culture of promoting non-tradie jobs to girls that are worse paid in school as well as by parents.

She said: "At school, if you're not going into university, girls are encouraged into cosmetology and hairdressing, all of which pay around 20 grand a year. And there appears that a male will be encouraged into the trade route - into being plumbers, electricians where, in London, you can earn upwards of 70 or 80K in a year."

A tradeswoman fixing a sink
TaskHer is looking to visit schools to encourage girls to think about joining the trade industry and is hoping to expand outside of London in the future -Credit:TaskHer

TaskHer is currently in talks with local councils to visit schools with tradeswomen to talk to leavers at careers fairs to show the trade route as an option for young girls. Anna said: "They need to see that they can get their hair and nails done and be out clubbing but also fixing boilers during the day too."

The future of TaskHer looks bright, Anna said, with plans to expand out of London to other major UK cities as well as expand their trade offering from the electricians, plumbers and heating gas engineers they already have. They are also using AI to do remote quotes to help make it even easier for customers to find the right price.

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