Welding is viewed as a male dominant niche. People regard welding as something hard and dirty to do which could only be done by big sturdy men. But this type of prejudice has long been overturned as, perhaps unnoticeably, the number of female welders is gradually rising.
In fact, there are about 5% of women welders currently present in the USA. And their numbers are constantly rising. The idea of only men being able to do this type of work will in a few years completely be forgotten as women are perfectly capable of doing great work and being able to join materials as men can.
Most people think that the majority of welding takes place indoors in the safety and comfort of a garage. Actually, a lot of them are done in the great wild and include pipeline welding, underwater welding, oil tank welding, etc. Whatever you might be thinking, women are actually more than capable of doing all of the mentioned types of welding jobs, even though they seem dangerous. These types of jobs can be paid far more than indoor ones, presenting an added incentive for women to start this type of job. Also, for some, it can present a challenge.
You also don’t really need a college degree to join the trade. Many of the welding applications can be learned by yourself if you assert yourself long enough. The more motivated you are the easier it can be. That said it’s the best to finish your local welding school and get yourself proficient in the welding process you chose (still cheaper than college). Finally, welding is not a mere dirty job but can also become an art form as you do have to be creative to do it.
Let’s dive deeper and analyze this topic further and you may end up changing your opinion about this matter.
What is the Advantage of Female Welders?
Women may not be as physically strong as men are. But they do have a number of physical abilities that set them apart from their male counterparts that may be more than useful when it comes to welding.
One of the more important physical factors when it comes to welding is that women have far greater hand stability. Research showed that, on average, the total fluctuation is 1.3 times greater in men than in women. It is even greater in 10-Hz tremors as it was measured at being 1.6 times larger with men as opposed to women.
Hand stability is important when welding. It is almost like doing surgery. You wouldn’t want a surgeon with a shaky hand, would you? Welding demands prices work and a stable hand so in order to complete the task right one has to hold their own. Women are physically far likelier to have a steady hand than men are.
A necessary trait for welders is the ability to maintain balance. A lot of the work is done high up above the ground. Working on girders and fixing pipelines is not as easy as you might think. One has to be able to have perfect posture and maintain balance so they don’t fall to their deaths. You have to be able to twist your body in certain ways so you both get the job done properly and keep yourself safe.
Women are actually better here as they have an innate ability to maintain balance more than men. They have a lower longitudinal center of gravity, meaning that women have a much better balance than men. Women do have certain athletic agility as opposed to men. This is why female competitors in gymnastics, particularly in uneven bar competitions, are far better than guys. A lot of muscles are not going to do you any good when trying to maintain balance in a tight spot.
Men do have problems in working in high areas and it is due to their lower center of gravity. Construction work requires you to climb really high to fix things and the ability of being able to stay in one position long enough and staying there until the job is done is quite valuable le in this trade.
Finally, women welders are of much better health than men welders are. Research shows that when compared to working conditions, types of tasks, the protection that they used, and overall well-being, women workers are of much better health than men are. One of the main reasons is that women tend to take much better care of themselves when working. Women tend to use added protection which men sometimes (read many, many times) disregard using.
This results in them having fewer injuries when welding and also having fewer respiratory problems that arise due to badly ventilated welding conditions.
All in all, certain inherited physical attributes make women far better welders than men are. Sure, men have the strength, but sometimes there are more elements to being a good welder.
Female Welders on the Rise
The number of female welders has been expanding in recent times. During times when the current welding workforce is experiencing a shortage, it seems that women are there to save the situation. Much of the current welders are retiring, so there aren’t a lot of men that are willing to join the trade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that a growth of 6% in welder employment will be established by 2026.
So are girls going to take over for men?
It seems that they most certainly are! Currently, there are only 5% of female welders working in the US. That number may seem small but when you take into account an 85% increase of women welders alone in the past year, you can see how quickly they are expanding.
A great incentive for girls to join to welding industry is the fact that salaries are pretty high. It might be a dangerous job and it’s definitely not a walk in the park, but you do get paid the big bucks. The ones where you get sent on long trips halfway across the world come with the biggest paycheck. A skilled enough woman welder is more than likely going to embark on a trip like that and work in various sorts of conditions for the cash grab that she is expected to earn for this type of job. Some can even earn up to $70,000 a year.
Here is a breakdown of welder salaries in terms of position:
• Industrial Pipeline Welders: $36,414 – $106,348
• Underwater Welders: $54 750 – $300 000
• Military Support Welders: up to $160 000
• Aerospace Welders: $29 540 – $60 000
• Certified Welding Inspector: $70 000+
Not a lot of people think that women are able to take over this trade. But the numbers don’t lie. With a shortage of men that are willing to take this type of a job and are generally passing to some “cleaner jobs,” women are the ones that are stepping forward.
This is going to be important in the long run as we are going to need somebody to take care of the existing infrastructure. All the buildings and bridges may have been built by men, but women are going to be the ones that are going to maintain it in the future and probably create some of their own.
What Does Every Woman Welder Need to Start?
An aspiring welder (female or male) will need some tools to start her work. Motivation is the first thing that one needs, but you do need tools to equip your garage and create a stable workplace.
The most important part is a good and reliable welding machine. A multipurpose one works best, but it can be expensive. So get a welder based on the type of welding process you plan on doing. MIG welders and TIG welding machines are the usual ones that you can start, but a stick welder might also do the trick.
Next would be equipping your garage with all the needed amenities. Get a good welding table and the shielding gas that you require for a certain type of work. Also, make sure that you have a lot of welding wire in stock as well.
Protection is also more than necessary. There is no such thing as being too careful when it comes to welding. Girls are particularly careful when it comes to working safety so this shouldn’t be an issue. Start with a welding helmet, an auto-shading one would work best as it also provides quality of work as well as protecting your eyes. Welding gloves and a welding jacket protects you from burns. Finally, respirators and ventilators protect your lungs. You don’t want a gassy workshop. Make sure to either create a ventilated working environment or add ways to clear out all the smoke that is created during work.
A female welding shop is not going to differ greatly from a male one. Being professional is necessary and one needs prime equipment to set everything in order. But if you are on a budget, it works best if you take a tactical approach and don’t go for the big-name brands at first. Sometimes an inexpensive welder or a cheaper welding helmet can provide the same results.
One additional thing is that one does not need a specific diploma for starting a shop. In fact, a lot of people who have taken up welding do not have formal education. Sure, there are ways to get certified and go to welder college, but in many cases, this is an acquired trade. Women are doing this as well and is one of the attractions of starting this job. So when creating your own business you do not really need to spend additional time and money acquiring a piece of paper that makes you a welder. If you are able to get an apprenticeship in a shop, it is more than enough for a woman to learn all the ins and outs of welding.
In a few year’s time, with a lot of hard work and dedication and thousands of pieces of scrap metal welded together for practice and a women welder may hope to open her own shop without a problem.
Can girls become welders?
Yes, they can. In fact, the number of female welders is constantly rising. Actually, the need for welders overall is on the rise as more and more current welders are retiring or changing trades. Women are taking advantage of this trend and are joining in. It is no different for a woman to become a welder than a man. They can either learn it by themselves or go to welding college and even get an apprenticeship.
How much money do female welders make?
Women welders stand to make the same kind of earnings as men do. With enough experience and by being hired at a certain position, a women welder can stand to earn $40,970 per year. Even working as an administrative assistant can earn you a nice salary as it goes around $36,500 annually.
What percent of welders are female?
According to the latest statistics proposed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women comprise a total of 4.5% of the entire welding force in the USA. Predictions are that the number is going to increase significantly in just a few year’s time but will still not be able to reach the highest numbers recorded during WWII where the entire US welding force comprised 25% of female welders.
Is welding a stressful job?
Yes, it can be. Working under various weather conditions and traveling to different far places can be stressful for a person. It can have an impact both physically and mentally on someone. Both male and female welders are susceptible to stress at work. Women are able to take care of themselves and generally do not suffer the same amount of injuries on the job as men do. But they can be exposed to a fair amount of stress in certain situations.
We live in a time when the industry is changing. The drastic decline of interest in the welding trade is not hurting us at the moment. But in a few year’s time when the shortage of welders becomes noticeable and starts to impact our infrastructures and economy, it could become dangerous.
New people need to start getting into the trade and it seems that women welders are the answer to this problem. As their numbers increase we are going to get a valuable addition to the workforce to support our society. We do need infrastructure and we do need all the small bits and pieces surrounding us. If you haven’t noticed, most of them have been made with some kind of a soldering or welding process.
The increase of women welders is something that will impact our society in a positive way and we shall see its results in just a few year’s time.
This content is brought to you by Adam Mason.