Women’s Impact on the Plumbing Business
Men have historically dominated trade work, and this is especially true for plumbing. All trade work, particularly plumbing, requires years of training, long hours, and harsh conditions. Often trade workers are expected to spend full days or even longer away from home. As a result of these conditions, women are underrepresented in plumbing.
But just because most plumbers aren’t women doesn’t mean that women haven’t profoundly impacted how the plumbing industry has developed over the last few decades. In honor of Women’s History Month, here are a few facts about the contributions of women to this important trade.
Women in Today’s Plumbing Industry
As previously mentioned, women are a tiny minority in the plumbing industry. The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that only 5% of the plumbing workforce is female. This includes women in leadership and support positions, so the number of licensed plumbers doing service calls every day is even smaller.
While males have dominated the plumbing industry in the past, there is no reason why this should be the case in the future. Historically, plumbing was done with heavy metal pipes in harsh conditions, making men more suited for the work. However, modern plumbing materials are lightweight plastics joined with special tools. This removes much labor, leading to exhaustion and burnout, even among men. Additionally, labor laws have drastically improved work conditions and hours.
Every plumber starts their journey as an apprentice. Apprentices are the lowest-paid plumbers, but they still start at about the average pay for workers across industries. After paid training, they can take tests to raise their skill level and command higher pay. As master plumbers, plumbers can start businesses and determine their future. What part of that wouldn’t appeal to women?!
How the Ladies Auxiliary Committee for the National Association of Plumbers Shaped Plumbing
The Ladies Auxiliary Committee for the National Association of Plumbers was originally conceived as a committee to entertain plumbing union members’ wives as they attended conventions. Initially, it was chaired by men who planned activities like motorcar rides around Chicago to keep women busy. In the early 1900s, women took over leadership and changed plumbing policy nationwide.
At that time, cars were becoming more common, which meant that gas stations had to be strategically placed to link distant places. The committee floated the idea of a public restroom in every gas station and partnered with companies like Texaco to make it happen. With their influence, public restrooms would be more ubiquitous now.
The First Female Master Plumber
Lillian Ann Baumbach shattered the glass ceiling for female plumbers in 1951. Baumbach got her to start working for her father’s plumbing company and eventually sat for the master plumbing test. She passed on the first try and gained national notoriety.
Nicknamed the “Pretty Plumber,” she caught the eye of servicemen in Korea, who made her their company mascot. After serving as a master plumber at her father’s company, she eventually settled down and got married. After having children, she continued working for her father’s company, albeit in the office instead of the field.
About Apple Valley Plumbing Company
Apple Valley Plumbing Company provides personal attention and free phone consultation to all of their potential customers. Their upfront pricing gives homeowners peace of mind knowing there won’t be any surprises once work is finished. Call today for plumbing service in Apple Valley, MN homes.
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