Women make up an increasingly mighty minority in the trades. Eleven professionals discuss their experience working in the traditionally male-dominated field
In the United States, the trades are booming. However, according to recent data from the National Association of Women in Construction, women make up just 9.9% of the construction industry in the country, with nearly a third of that stat attributed to female sales and office personnel.
To those women seeking to break into the trades, one roadblock can be the intimidation of learning on a job where they are likely the only female. In 2014, in Detroit, Samantha Farrugia set out to narrow the gender gap by founding Women Who Weld, a nonprofit that offers subsidized, and in some cases free, courses to participants who want to learn that skill—then helps place them with employers after they complete the training. The American Welding Society projects that by 2025, there will be a need for some 400,000 jobs in welding, and yet females only represent 5.3% of the current workforce.
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