Is Welding Women’s Work?

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Alexandra TIG WeldingMost women welders I know often say that when folks find out they are welders, they are surprised.  Women don’t weld, right?  I mean a girl!?  Sadly there are many out there (men and women) who think that welding isn’t a good career choice for women.  Just recently Cameron wrote to us:

Hello, I am a 33 year old woman and have been thinking of welding. I hear very mixed reviews. Some people tell me the industry has changed enough that it’s relatively clean work that doesn’t cause too much wear and tear to your muscles and body.  Others say it’s dirty and grimy and you have to be in tight spaces welding over your head sometimes and that it is very tough on a   petite girl.  I wonder what your thoughts on this are?

We’ve written a lot about this in the past, but it never hurts to address this again.  Maybe until folks get it right–welding is a fine career for a woman!

A lot of women wonder what it will be like working in a predominately male environment.  Here’s some tips:

1. Education!  Be the best in the shop, or out in the field.

2. Be professional.  Do your job, do it well, and dress professionally.

3. Toughen up. Easier said than done, but don’t take things personally.

For the extended version of these tips for women welders, read the entire article.

One common misconception is that you have to be a brute to be a welder.  We addressed this awhile back in post called “Weighing in on Women Welders”:

Danelle Dibari-Starustka

Danelle Dibari-Starustka at work

The idea that brute strength is required is one of the biggest misconceptions that women have about welding—that they aren’t strong enough to be welders. Sure, dragging around a MIG gun with a 25-ft. cable could be a physical challenge. A 25 ft. MIG Cable assembly and MIG gun could weigh up to 12 lbs., but you won’t be doing that all day long.  Once you’re there (wherever you need to lay a bead), the more important skills are hand / eye coordination and knowledge of the material being welded.

If you’re talking about TIG welding pipe, it may be more about finesse than muscle. And you don’t get a nice bead on a titanium bike frame with upper body strength!

continue reading….

Another common misconception…  that women are a distraction, and they cry.

So What!?  If the men in the shop are so distracted they can’t do their job, the problem is the men, not the women   (as long as the women are doing their jobs professionally).  And what about crying?   You should know, by the way, that crying is healthy, relieves stress, and women have a natural, biological propensity to cry.  It’s not that big of a deal.  Read more, including my confessions of crying at work in an article called “There’s no crying in welding”.

WOW3g03357uWeld like THESE Women!

Remember Rosie the Riveter?  Yeah.  Women working in factories got us through World War II.  And more recently, we’ve profiled many women welders on this blog.  We hope you’ll find their stories inspirational, and their tips for getting along in a mostly male environment helpful.  Check out our New Rosies column, and if you know an amazing woman welder, let us know!

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3 comments on “Is Welding Women’s Work?”:

  1. Ellen

    Nice blog 😀
    Stumbled in here by accident. I will bookmark it for later reading (it’s bedtime now)

    I build cabins for Scania trucks, in Sweden, and I WELD 😀
    It’s a big factory/industri and women (at my department) is a minority ! It works out fine. We are treated with respect, at least from our co-workers, and we do the job better than any other men, because >we got good sense and feeling< for the things we do 😉
    So to you all awesome girl out there….hold your heads high and be proud ! Female welders are, usually, the best welders !

    (Pardon my English)

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  2. Aimee

    Just discovered your site! Thanks so much for this great resource. I’m a 30-year-old woman with a Master’s degree in English. I’ve been working typical office gigs since leaving grad school, but I’m considering a massive shift into the welding world. My husband is a project manager/engineer in oil & gas…we move to new places every 12-18 months or so, and I find it progressively more difficult to find satisfying employment whenever we arrive at a new location. I want a job/skill that can move with me to these (typically) blue-collar, industrial-centered cities, and I want to be able to do meaningful work no matter where we end up!

    I have NO IDEA if I have what it takes to become a welder, but I love reading about the techniques, the equipment, and all the possibilities for female welders. Sounds like there could definitely be challenges ahead, but websites like this are super encouraging.

    I’m heading to my first info session about a welding class tonight, and I’m equal parts excited and nervous! (Praxair is sponsoring a *free* welding course at a local community college in my town, and I WANT IN!) Fingers crossed! Thanks again… 🙂

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  3. Loretta Fuller

    I currently am a pipe welder since ’94, a couple of years now and I LOVE IT! It runs in my family and alot of my female friends I went to high school with are also welders. It can be tough…but if you can handle dirty… than it’s a job you’ll learn to love too!!

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