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Women in Skilled Trades

Why, For Me, Welding Is a Pure Place to Be

Photos: Courtesy of Keegan Beard

As a welder, I’m passionate about sharing my love of the craft with others, and especially with other women.

Women stepped into the workforce during WWII and proved not only were they capable of raising a family and caring for a home, they were also capable of manual labor and working with their hands to build and create. This brought women like me great personal fulfillment and pride and so women honed their skills and became craftsmen.

Today, more and more women are finding that same fulfillment and pride in the welding industry, not to mention excellent pay and benefits. The welding industry has always honored a skilled craftsman regardless of gender but has been predominately male throughout its history. As modern women share their experience with the craft on social media, in magazine articles and blogs, and through word of mouth, others are finding their way to welding schools and fabrication shops all over the world.

Women are sharing that careers in welding provide so much more than great income and benefits. The physical aspect of creation is therapeutic. Bending metal to your will through heat and pressure makes you feel like a superhero, and as you improve, each new learned skill brings a sense of gratification and boosts your self-esteem and confidence.

For me, welding is a pure place to be. I flip my welding hood down, strike an arc, and the whole world goes black except for the glow. As the weld puddle forms, I begin to rhythmically dip the filler rod into the puddle as I slowly move along my weldment. I weave my torch back and forth in small movements, creating crescent moons, and watch as my weld takes shape. When I finish my weld I hold my torch over it for a moment, allowing the gas to protect my masterpiece, and find a moment of Zen. I lift my hood up and it’s magnificent!

Welding is an art and a fabricator an artist — whether it’s creating a small bracket or a bridge that spans raging waters. A skilled welder can teach you how to weld very quickly, but the joy of welding is the time you spend perfecting your skills throughout your career. Exploring the different welding processes, working with a variety of materials, and learning how to fabricate takes thousands of hours of practice, but once you begin to really master it, it will change you forever.

Welding is also a diverse field that offers a wide variety of career options and will keep anyone from getting bored. Welders work inside and outside, underwater and in small fabrication shops, solo and in teams. They create small weldments, structural buildings, or giant ships across a wide variety of industries like automotive, aerospace, natural gas, construction, and art, just to name a few.

Welding can be a demanding career and we pride ourselves on our ability to overcome any obstacles put in our way, and we show respect for our welding brothers and sisters who do the same.

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