Women in Welding Blog Post
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Cleveland, OH

    Women in Welding Blog Post

    Thought you might want to be aware of a blog post on our companion site IndustryWeek.

    Welding Woos Women; Sparks Fly
    This sounds like an uphill battle, especially after reading some of the readers' rants at the end of the article. But uphill or not -- and this should go without saying -- it's a battle worth fighting.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Re: Women in Welding Blog Post

    I think the CNBC article is out of touch with the real world. Most shops I know you have to be able to lift 50lbs or more. They overlook that the reason the starting pay is $15.00 is due to the fact there is an over abundance of wire squirters out there. When you eliminate all the entry level guys and gals you find people don't stay in the business cause it is a hard job and people have a tendency to want life to get easier not harder. Top pay I know of for an employed shop pay in the south will rarely be above $25.00/hr. That puts you at the bottom of the middle class financially if you work only 40hr/wk and 50wks/yr. You find it takes two paychecks to make any gains in life or go into another line of work. Become a specialty welder? Start your own business? Work a second job or overtime if it is available? The only reason I find tradesmen stay with this career is because they love it cause it sure won't make them rich. The shop welder will struggle and live modestly.

    On the issue of women in the trade, I have seen some good ones and well some not so good. My advice for a woman wanting to get into the trade is to pull your own weight but don't endanger people trying to do so. If you can't do something ask for help. I am a larger/stronger than average male. Other men routinely ask me for help lifting or carrying something, but the other side of the coin my hands/arms don't fit in many places and I have to ask for other's help at times who can fit. I also am not the one you want crawling to the back of a tank through a manhole. I don't fit through some of the openings. It is a fact of life size and strength differs from person to person. Don't get hung up on asking for help. That said, if you want to be in the trades, pull your own weight and don't use your gender/size/strength limitations as a crutch. Men will respect you for doing your own work and also for asking for help and not getting an attitude cause you need help.

    Be lady like! Yes, there is a double standard here. Men can be nasty, cruel, vulgar, inhospitable, moody, etc. I have seen a couple women try to fit in and be just as nasty, cruel, vulgar, butchy, etc. and all that happens is they lose respect of those they work with. They became a joke. It shouldn't be a double standard, but it is. The truth is the more mannered the men are the more respected they are typically. If you want respect, earn it and that goes for both genders.

    Be professional. If you "play" or "dirty" talk trying to fit in, it will backfire. You may just be playing around, but someone will say something that will make you feel uncomfortable and sexual harassment is nothing to play around with. Don't entertain that banter. There was black welder and welder's helper who bantered back and forth. The black welder was ruthlessly cruel to the helper with comments on his short stature and race. The helper was very short and the welder took it too far playing with him. The welder commented that he being black would sport a package longer than the helper is tall, at which the helper commented, "Be glad the North won, cause I would laugh if you were owned by a short master." Yep, you guessed what happened. The helper was fired cause of racism, and the black welder was given a promotion to keep harmony. Never mind that the whole shop said the black welder instigated, egged, and he was the one that routinely reminded the helper his black male part was longer than helper was tall. The black welder routinely picked on the helper cause of his race, stature, and anything else. The only racism is against blacks and the only sexism/sexual harassment is against women. If a woman begins to play talk sexually with anyone, it is bad form in the work place. If you don't want sexual harassment then don't open the door.

    I know my limited experience in welding is skewed to field work, job shops, industrial manufacturing, and industrial work overs. It is hot, nasty, and heavy work that will take all you have to offer most days. I am sure there are areas in welding where the climate, job conditions, and physical requirements are wide open to women. I just haven't seen many make it long in the areas I have welded. I know a couple women who in welding. They are highly respected and most of my opinions came from their example. They would also tell you, welding isn't a life career. They are doing it cause pays the bills. both of them would rather be in artistic fabrication and one-ofs custom building. "One day!" they say they will be able to afford to do what they want. I hope they do.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Ontario, Canada

    Re: Women in Welding Blog Post

    Well thought out comments

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