Blue-collar jobs are not just for men but also for women! Sadly, women tend to avoid them because of the fear of harassment from their male counterparts. The trades are male-dominated, so you must have what Grandma Marcia would call “chutz·pah.”
There are plenty of women out there killing it in the trades. The stories below are from female Redditors who love their trade careers. They are sharing their experiences and advice for up-and-coming tradeswomen. One repeated recommendation is to look for companies with a lot of female upper management or women already working there.
Welding is a huge industry filled with women. A few women noted they have dealt with incidents with men saying inappropriate things and being a bit aggressive. One Redditor noted she works in a shop environment at a medium-sized company. They work relatively independently, which she believes is what makes her experience a positive one. She also added that working on a pipeline or oil rig may be unpleasant.
Several women noted they worked as electricians, and none reported any significant issues with their male coworkers. One stated they worked in teams of 2-5 people, which she felt helped keep the environment positive.
Plumbing is one job where you can work alone more than others. This means less chance of dealing with cranky men. One Redditor noted she was an industrial plumber and has not dealt with any issues. In fact, she said the guys actually like having a girl around. She was the first female hire at the company – and while there are stares, there is nothing more than that.
HVAC/R offers a variety of options in both residential and commercial environments. Commercial work may require being a part of a team, so you will have to have thick skin with the guys. An HVAC/R career is one where you can learn other skills like carpentry or electrical in case you decide to change paths.
One female HVAC noted that the many other skills is why she chose the HVAC/R field. If this specific environment gets too hostile, she can easily jump into something else.
Cabinetmaking was recommended by someone who felt it was a good option because you can work alone quite often. The downside was the money could be better. She moved on to get into the carpenter’s union as an apprentice. She has since found that there is work being done on improving the environment for female carpenters.
One woman recommended going into film and theater which is usually a more inclusive environment.
Heavy Equipment Operator
A 21-year old has been working as a heavy equipment operator for a couple of years and is used to the treatment. She states that her male coworkers seem to not like her and treat her differently. She does not understand why this is happening. Redditors responded with reasons like “they have to behave because she is there,” “the belief women cannot do that kind of work,” and a sense of “lessened manliness because women can do their job.”
Sewage & Water Operator
A few women noted they worked as sewage and water operators and have had no issues with any sexism with the immediate crew. Some women had issues with contractors and upper management, but those were people they dealt with only sometimes.
Painting is a good option as one Redditor noted. Most of her work days are spent working independently enjoying some tunes with her ear buds in. Even when she was onsite with male coworkers they left her alone. She is looking forward to going out on her own in the future.
Landscaping is a field recommended by several women. They love the creativity and often work alone. Some have to deal with laborers but say they rarely face any issues.
As expected, there were a lot of recommendations for various medical trade careers like sleep technologist or phlebotomist. While you may work with male doctors, they seem less aggressive than their blue-collar counterparts.
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