Contributed article in our career series. Enjoy! – Scrappy Kimberly
Fields like welding can seem challenging for women. While it does have its fair share of challenges, times are changing and more and more women are considering a career in welding. You may have to navigate a bit differently if you want to prevent incidents and perform to the best of your abilities. With that in mind, here are three tips for women entering the welding field. Image Ref: Royalty Free Photo
Have the Right Protective Gear
Women have different frames than man. Not only are they often shorter and lighter, but their hands also tend to smaller.
This is why you need right sized gloves to protect your hands while welding. You need protective boots that fit your feet and visor that fits your face. These can be harder to find for a woman to find since most protective gear is designed with men in mind. However, you can find protective gear for women if you look and many online shops offer a wide variety of welding equipment for both men and women.
Be Professional and Non-Political
Be professional. Consistently putting out high quality work will give you the reputation you want and dispel any myths that you have the job for any other reasons than your qualifications. Keep politics and ideology out of the workplace. Try to downplay gender differences and focus on work; getting political might alienate you.
Try not to have romantic relationships with anyone you work with, and if you do, try to be discreet. You don’t want to attract unwanted attention from other guys at work who might think they have a shot. If you want to protect yourself from unwanted attention, the simplest solution is to be completely professional with everyone all the time. This will also keep the crude banter that circulates in many workshops to a minimum when you’re around.
If you’re uncomfortable with sexual jokes and banter around the shop, distance yourself, and if the comments are directed at you, don’t be afraid to talk to someone you trust in upper management to see if they can resolve the situation.
When you’re a welder, you’re going to have trained as a welder and earned certification. If you want to ensure that you’re recognized and respected, be fully knowledgeable about the industry and the equipment. This dispels any concerns that standards were lowered to get you into the profession. If you’re as knowledgeable as other experienced welders, no one will doubt your competence.
If you don’t know something, ask the best. Most skilled tradesmen are happy to share their knowledge with anyone who asks. If you frame the question correctly, you’ll find many want to give you the information you need to succeed.
Being a woman in the welding field can be great if you avoid certain pitfalls. Find the right protective gear before you start work. Keep politics out of the workplace and maintain a professional demeanor. And last but not least, be knowledgeable, and don’t be afraid to ask for assistance if needs be.by