Most 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”:
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!
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”.
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!