5 Important Tips for Women in Welding
When you think of industries like construction and manufacturing, it must come to mind that these are mostly 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 exactly what they’re getting into.
So whether you are just starting out or you just need some women in welding tips, keep reading. We have compiled a list of 5 important tips for women in welding and for women who are looking to do well in the industry.
1. Understand the Work Environment
As we already mentioned, the welding industry is mostly made up of men. So it makes sense that as a woman, you will be surrounded by men and male groups while you are working.
We all know that men in groups can sometimes use bad language and make some jokes that you might take offense to. This doesn’t mean that all men are like this, and in fact most men within the industry will act in a professional manner. But it is something to keep in mind as you go to 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 definitely 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 right away so that you can focus on the reason 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.
2. Know Your Stuff
Another byproduct of a male-dominated workplace is that men might scrutinize your skills and knowledge more than they might for their fellow male co-workers. But if you do great quality work and work hard, then your gender won’t matter: you’ll just be seen as a great welder.
Getting the right training is a great start. You should take classes and get training in all types of welding so that you 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 as well as give you an understanding of how to tackle different jobs and projects.
You should also know about all the tools and equipment you’ll be using. 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 as well as when to use which tool.
Women in welding do 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.
3. Keep Learning Constantly
Once you’ve been trained and have gotten 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 be constantly improving your craft.
New tools and equipment come out all the time, so keep up with anything new you should be aware of. Read manuals and any reviews you can find of the equipment and tools so that you know you’re using the best stuff you can.
You should also be practicing your craft whenever possible. It’s cliché, but practice does make perfect, so practice as much as possible.
Continuing with this idea of practice, it is a good idea to get all kinds of practice. What do we mean by that? 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.
So be sure to actually practice all of the different things you’ve learned about. You can do this by taking many different types of jobs so that you can get practical experience in those different 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 of a certain 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 not only about the actual welding, but also about the industry in general.
Another great bonus to learning from other welders is that it could build up your professional network. They can serve as references, or even help connect you with jobs in the future.
All of this practice, advice, and knowledge will increase your confidence and your skill-set, both of which are crucial for the success of women in welding.
4. Maintain a Professional Image
This is definitely a tip true not just for welders, but perhaps in all workplaces.
Conducting Yourself Professionally
At work, people are aware of appearance, the way you act, and the way you conduct yourself. Don’t give anyone a chance to say that you are acting unprofessionally because of these things.
Always be focused on the job at hand and be aware of how you speak to your co-workers and superiors. This means giving people respect, while also showing your skills and speaking your mind respectfully.
Work Appropriate Clothing
Welding isn’t exactly 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 right uniform, and focus on the job, there won’t be anything to fault you on. In fact, you’ll likely garner respect from your co-workers so they will treat you as they would treat any other welder. This respect along with your skill and your confidence will force them to take you seriously as a welder.
5. Work Hard
Let’s say you follow all of our tips: you have the knowledge and the skills, you are professional, and you are ready to work with the boys. But it’s not just work, but hard work.
It’s Physical Work
Welding is different from an office job in many ways, but perhaps especially because of the physical demands of the job. You’ll be expected to be on your feet for long hours while doing repeated tasks using heavy equipment.
You’ll have to have endurance and strength to succeed in the welding world. You can better your health and strength by exercising regularly, lifting weights, as well as eating healthy foods.
Dedication and Time
Putting in a lot of your time and effort will show your dedication to welding, which will definitely work in your favor not only with clients and jobs, but also with the men you work with. They will see you working hard and know that you are the real deal.
And since you’ll be asking for advice and critiques of your work (see tip #3), you’ll only continue to get better over time.
Women in welding might have to work harder than their male colleagues in order to prove themselves and gain strength physically. But this can only serve to help you: it will make you a better, highly skilled and dedicated welder.
Women in Welding: Bottom Line
While women in welding do have several obstacles to overcome in this industry, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be just as successful as men. By working hard, staying professional, and constantly learning, you could be on your way to becoming 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 your desire to improve. Hopefully these tips will help you and other women in welding succeed.
If you want some more information or have any questions, contact us or leave a comment below. We would love to hear your thoughts on this or any other welding topics.