Spotlight on Women Welders!
While the history most industrial fields might appear to tell a male-centered story, in the case of welding it isn’t actually true that it was a male-dominated trade, historically speaking. In the Middle Ages, welding equipment such as the blacksmith’s forge was shared by both men and women (who often specialized in hammering finer items like nails and chain mail). In modern days, with developments in welding equipment like the familiar gas-powered torches, women continue to show their mettle. Famous women welders range from the Russian artisan Vera Mukhina to the thousands of real-life Rosie the Riveters who built American warships during World War II. Vera Anderson, then still a teenager, won a competition in 1944 for best female welder and was named “World’s Champion Welder.”
Today, only five percent of American welders are women. Yet as equality becomes more valued by society at large, more women are taking up the welding torch and finding their footing–and hard-won respect–as professional welders across the world.
AMERICAN WOMEN WELD
Recent interviews in the Fabricator magazine profile a legion of American women welders. Many of the professionals the writer spoke with cite the financial demands of being single mothers supporting children as the initial reason they made their way into the lucrative career of welding. Some were already involved in industrial trades when they realized that with some training they could make the change, from maintenance and repair work to manufacturing with welding supplies of their own. One Union-certified pipefitter followed in her father’s footsteps, joining his company without any second-thoughts as to her career.
Some have encountered more misogyny than others, yet many are hopeful that sexism will be on its way out in welding culture as women continue to prove themselves as equally able and talented as welders of metalwork. In this respect, welding is no different from other blue-collar trades. Acknowledging that her thick skin served her career nearly as well as her skillful hands, one welder commented that she was proud to burn away the stereotypes through her love of flux-core welding and its messy slag processes.
Recently a public art competition in Durango, Colorado included two finalists who happen to be women metal crafters. Cindy Atchison and Allison Leigh Smith each submitted ideas based on their steelcraft. The city sought the cutting-edge art in order to beautify a major intersection of highway. Ms. Atchison’s stylized ocean waves cut from oxidized steel panels ended up losing out to Ms. Smith’s animal shapes cut from a similar material. Either one of them would make quick work by using the cutters from Miller welders and other suppliers at Sidney Lee Welding Supply in Atlanta, Georgia.
BRITISH AGRICULTURAL WELDING
And over in Britain, Farmers Weekly published an extensive interview with Tia Boulton-Crowe, an apprentice engineer who will be a master welder in no time. At the age of only 19, she has already learned to weld tractors and relishes the opportunity to be at the forefront of women changing the face of English agriculture. Up against traditionalists in “a man’s job”, she is being noticed for her skill in fabrication and is not worried about the “five percent” of people who don’t see her for what she is: a professional welder adept at using welding equipment to make improvements to people’s lives in England, one farm at a time.
AND SO CAN YOU!
We at Sidney Lee Welding Supply Co fully support welders of any gender or background. Our expert sales staff and technical support team are ready to help you gain the right welding supplies in the Hampton, GA area. Visit Sidney Lee to see which Miller welders are right for your skilled work.