Plumbing entrepreneur Hatice ‘Hattie’ Hasan, founder and chief executive of female plumbing business Stopcocks, has launched a new initiative for female victims of domestic abuse and the organisations that support them.
Hasan is aiming to raise £15,000 to set up a National Register of Tradeswomen. The Register will primarily aim to support vulnerable women, either by training them to become skilled tradeswomen, or by offering their households access to female tradespeople.
The National Register will be maintained by a new Community Interest Company (CIC), a non-profit-making organisation that serves as a ‘one-stop shop’ for the women.
Part of the remit of the CIC will be to set aside funds to sponsor vulnerable women of limited means through their vocational training, and give them ongoing support and training, so they become self-sustainable.
The initiative follows the commercial work of Hattie Hasan, who was one of the UK’s first female plumbers. Due to the discrimination she faced, Hasan set up her own plumbing business and then used her experiences to help empower others to follow in her footsteps and become tradeswomen. She was awarded an MBE in this year’s New Year Honours list for her pioneering work.
Of Turkish Cypriot heritage, Hasan reflected on the headlines emerging during the coronavirus lockdown about women and children being trapped at home with their abusers, and decided to do something about it.
In her online crowdfunding appeal, Hasan wrote:
“I have been working with and for women for 30 years as a plumber/heating engineer and have heard these stories 1st hand and have personal experience. It has been a dream of mine for many years to create something that will be a lasting and sustainable way to help empower women who find themselves in violent and dangerous situations.
“Learning a trade not only gives women a very useful skill, but it also gives a sense of pride, and adds to their ability to earn money and lift themselves and their children out of the situation they find themselves in.”
Hasan told T-VINE that if the online appeal can reach its £15,000 target, NatWest Bank will offer additional funding to support their CIC. The money will be used to create a website with a secure portal where tradeswomen will be fully verified. In the long-term, she wants the profits to be used to create a ‘School for Tradeswomen’ and a Trust Fund.
The Register’s other main function will be to allow organisations, such as women’s refuges, and individual women who have been the victims of violence and who feel vulnerable with strange men in their home for repairs, to find and call out a tradeswomen.
Hasan said, “For many organisations working with vulnerable women it is often very difficult for them to find tradeswomen to carry out maintenance tasks. This often results in having to evacuate properties while the work is done by tradesmen. This displacement adds to stress and vulnerability felt by women and children.”
One of the several purposes the National Register will fulfil is to make “it easy to find tradeswomen to carry out works in women’s homes and in refuges”. The profits from the CIC will then be ploughed back into the One Stop Shop to educate and empower more vulnerable women to learn a trade.
“When women see women empowered and strong, they will feel that working in skilled trades is within their grasp, especially if they can access finance to train in a safe and supportive environment. This is how we’re going to create sustainable change,” stated Hasan.
The appeal is being backed by Karen Ingala Smith, Chief Executive of the Nia Project and a co-founder of the Femicide Census. Eastablished in 1975, Nia is a women-only organisation supporting women, girls and children who have experienced sexual and domestic violence. Ingala Smith told HVP (Heating Ventilating and Plumbing) Magazine:
“It’s well known, but often ignored that home is not a place of safety for many women and children and that the most serious threat of danger usually comes from her partner.
“It is much less well known that some men in trusted trades roles have used their position as a way to access women and harm them including robbery, sexual violence and in some extreme though fortunately rare cases, as we have seen from our work on the Femicide Census, murder.”
She added that, “Every woman deserves to feel safe in her home. For many that might mean not allowing men, especially those that are not known to us, into our homes. A register of tradeswomen would not only help keep women safe, because men are statistically much more likely to commit violence; it would also help women feel safe and less vulnerable by reducing the occasions we have open our doors to men that we don’t know and allow them access into our homes.
Click here to donate to the online crowdfunding appeal for a National Register of Tradeswomen. The last day for donations is 31 August 2020.
Main photo, top of Hattie Hasan MBE (right) and young female plumber who is being trained by Stopcocks Women Plumbers