Aluminum Etc.: What do you call a woman who welds? A welder
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Aluminum Etc.: What do you call a woman who welds? A welder

Aug 08, 2023

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Let's face it, companies are hard-pressed to find qualified employees in today's market. It is what I hear over and over. Complaints of "nobody wants to work anymore" can be heard from hiring managers everywhere.

This is not factually accurate. In our industry, there are people who have unconscious and not-so-unconscious biases toward individuals who don't fit their idea of what an industrial worker should look like. It's not their fault. They have had generations of conditioning that helped them form the picture of what an ideal employee should look, sound, and be like. It is up to everyone to acknowledge this and shift his or her perspective toward welcoming the traditionally undervalued and underrepresented to build a strong workforce for our manufacturing companies, unions, small businesses, and startups.

I welded for 25 years beginning in 1988. It wasn't an easy time for a woman to come up in the trades. For most of my career, I was the sole woman on the job site. Repeatedly, and still to this day, men say that they knew/know a girl who welds and then announce that girls make some of the best welders. I always cringe when I hear this, but I have never spoken up or tried to correct this misinformed and outdated stereotype. Why would I? It was always said when I was the only woman.

Women (not girls) are neither more nor less skilled at welding than anyone else. People become great welders through practice and opportunities to expand and increase their knowledge and skills.

Trust me, you want to hire women. Why? A woman in the trades has already overcome so much to just be there. No jobs were handed to her. She must earn the spot and then continue to earn that spot every single day because she knows she will be judged more harshly than her male co-worker for any mistakes. She walks onto that job site knowing that most people don't think she belongs there or that she cannot physically do the work. People question her commitment and her experience constantly.

If you see a woman on-site, rest reassured she is probably an overqualified and extremely skilled worker. She has to be.