When you think of industries like construction and manufacturing, it must come to mind that these are primarily male-dominated. Welding is no exception to this assumption.
In fact, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 5% of employed welders are women. This number is increasing each year as more and more women are joining classically male-dominated industries.
But it still might be intimidating getting into an industry full of men; many women who want to get into welding don’t know precisely what they’re getting into.
So whether you are just starting or need some women in welding tips, keep reading. We have compiled a list of 5 essential tips for women in welding and women looking to do well in the industry.
Understand the Work Environment
As we already mentioned, the welding industry mainly comprises men. So it makes sense that as a woman, you will be surrounded by men and male groups while working.
We all know that men in groups can sometimes use foul language and make some jokes that you might take offense to. This doesn’t mean that all men are like this; most men within the industry will act professionally. But it is something to remember as you work with almost all men.
If you hear something or see something that offends you, try not to bottle it up or take it personally. This could lead to resentment and unhappiness, which you don’t want in your workplace.
It is better to deal with the person who said whatever offended you right away so that you can reach an appropriate resolution.
The same goes for if you are feeling uncomfortable around a male co-worker or if they are making unwanted advances. Deal with the situation immediately so that you can focus on why you’re there: to be in the welding industry.
Let’s stress again that by no means do all, or even most, men in welding act like this towards women in welding. It is just a general tip to keep in mind as you enter a workforce with almost solely male workers.
Know Your Stuff
Another byproduct of a male-dominated workplace is that men might scrutinize your skills and knowledge more than they might their fellow male co-workers. But if you do excellent quality work and work hard, your gender won’t matter: you’ll be seen as a great welder.
Getting the proper training is a great start. You should take classes and get training in all types of welding to become knowledgeable in many fields.
You can also shadow or learn directly from a welding professional. They can help teach you the ways of the industry and give you an understanding of how to tackle different jobs and projects.
When working a job, there will be a wide variety of materials, tools, and equipment you’ll be expected to be familiar with. Be sure to know how each works and when to use which tool. Learning about all the tools and equipment you’ll use would be best.
Women in welding struggle with being held to a higher standard by men in the industry. So if you show up with excellent knowledge and experience, it will be more likely that gender won’t matter.
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Keep Learning Constantly
Once you’ve been trained and familiar with the tools and materials, that doesn’t mean you should stop learning. Forget about gender for a moment: if you want to become a great welder, you should constantly improve your craft.
New tools and equipment always come out, so keep up with anything fresh you should be aware of. Read manuals and reviews of the equipment and tools to know you’re using the best stuff you can.
It would be best if you also practiced your craft whenever possible. It’s cliché, but practice does make perfect, so practice as much as possible.
We already mentioned that you should learn about and be trained in different forms of welding so you can have a large area of expertise. What do we mean by that? Continuing with this idea of practice, getting all kinds of practice is good.
So be sure to practice all the different things you’ve learned. You can do this by taking many jobs to get practical experience in those other forms of welding.
Learn from Others
You can also seek out other welders to observe them or help them on various projects they do as well. Asking an expert for a specific type of welding would be a great way to learn and practice something you might not be experienced with.
Asking questions and getting advice from seasoned expert welders is a great way to learn. They will have a wealth of knowledge about actual welding and the industry in general.
Another great bonus to learning from other welders is that it could build your professional network. They can serve as references or even help connect you with jobs in the future.
All this practice, advice, and knowledge will increase your confidence and skill set, which are crucial for women’s welding success.
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Maintain a Professional Image
This is a tip accurate for welders and perhaps in all workplaces.
Conducting Yourself Professionally
People are aware of appearance, how you act, and how you conduct yourself at work. Don’t give anyone a chance to say that you are acting unprofessionally because of these things.
Always be focused on the job and be aware of how you speak to your co-workers and superiors. This means respecting people, showing your skills, and telling your mind respectfully.
Work Appropriate Clothing
Welding isn’t precisely a pantsuit or a skirt-and-a-blouse type of job. Getting the proper clothes is essential to maintaining a professional image as a welder.
Welding can be dangerous if you aren’t in the right clothes or using the right equipment. Without the right stuff, you will look like you don’t know what you’re doing.
Look for work jumpsuits, workshirts, as well as long pants. Many people often wear flame-resistant clothing as a safety precaution.
You’ll also need things like:
- A welding helmet
- Welding gloves
- Safety glasses
If you keep things professional, have the correct uniform, and focus on the job, there won’t be anything to fault you on.
You’ll likely garner respect from your co-workers so they will treat you like any other welder. This respect and your skill and confidence will force them to take you seriously as a welder.
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Let’s say you follow all of our tips: you have the knowledge and skills, are professional, and are ready to work with the boys. But it does not just work, but hard work.
It’s Physical Work
Welding is different from an office job in many ways, perhaps mainly because of the job’s physical demands. You’ll be expected to be on your feet for long hours while doing repeated tasks using heavy equipment.
You’ll have the endurance and strength to succeed in the welding world. You can better your health and strength by exercising regularly, lifting weights, and eating healthy foods.
Dedication and Time
Putting in a lot of your time and effort will show your dedication to welding, which will work in your favor with clients, jobs, and the men you work with. They will see you working hard and know you are the real deal.
And since you’ll ask for advice and critiques of your work (see tip #3), you’ll only improve over time.
Women in welding might have to work harder than their male colleagues to prove themselves and gain physical strength. But this can only serve to help you: it will make you a better, highly skilled, and dedicated welder.
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Women in Welding: Bottom Line
While women in welding have several obstacles to overcome in this industry, that doesn’t mean they can’t be as successful as men. By working hard, staying professional, and constantly learning, you could become an outstanding worker and a skilled welder.
Gender doesn’t matter when it comes to being a great worker; it all comes down to your dedication and desire to improve. Hopefully, these tips will help you and other women in welding succeed.
If you want more information or have questions, contact us or leave a comment below. We would love to hear your thoughts on this or other welding topics.