Learn About the History of Women in the Plumbing Industry
When homeowners picture plumbers, they imagine a cartoonish man with sagging pants and a rusted toolbox. They seldom picture a woman. Yet, women in the plumbing industry is an emerging trend that is here to stay. Soon, many blue-collar jobs won’t just be for Toms and Harrys.
Here, homeowners can learn about some women who shaped the plumbing industry and what that means for the industry’s future.
Facts About Women in Plumbing
According to a recent article by WXYZ Detroit, women make up less than two percent of all steamfitters, plumbers, and pipefitters. In the broader construction sector, women only comprise nine percent of all workers. That means only nine would be women in a room of 100 construction workers.
Yet, believe it or not, these numbers are nothing to scoff at. Just 20 years ago, the number of women in the construction and plumbing industry was virtually zero. Some reasons why women in the plumbing industry haven’t been so prevalent include the following:
- Harassment. Some women report harassment in male-dominated spaces, ranging from comments about their abilities to their appearance.
- Self-doubt. There’s a popular misconception that men are intrinsically better at some things than women. This lack of confidence prevents women from entering the plumbing industry.
What Is the Ladies’ Auxiliary Committee for the National Association of Plumbers?
As a married woman at the turn of the 20th century, life was… boring. Sure, the occasional car ride was fun, but beyond that, women’s social circles could get suffocating. It wasn’t uncommon for a woman to focus solely on her husband and children, having few friends herself.
The Ladies’ Auxiliary Committee for the National Association of Plumbers changed that. Originally founded by men, the organization evolved from being a social club to having significant political influence. According to Smithsonian Magazine, the Ladies’ Auxiliary Committee for the National Association of Plumbers advocated for:
- Better sanitation measures. Think gas station bathrooms are gross? They were even worse in the 1930s. These ladies advocated for cleaner restrooms, beginning with Texaco. Once they achieved their goal, the organization expanded its horizons to restaurants and other businesses.
- The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Political groups advocated for FMLA for years before it was officially approved in the 1990s. This legislature allowed workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave without fear of being fired.
Meet Lillian Ann Baumbach
To many, it seems Lillian Ann Baumbach had a charmed life. Not only was she the country’s first master plumber, but her beauty made her known as the “Pretty Plumber.” When she wasn’t getting her hands dirty with a plumbing problem, she made television appearances and talked on radio shows. During the Korean War, she was also a pin-up girl.
But how did Lillian find her passion for plumbing? Per the She Builds Podcast, Her father was a plumber, and as a little girl, he frequently brought her on his route. This gave up an up-close-and-personal look at what her future would hold.
About Bedell Home Services
Bedell Home Services has one message for the residents of Carmel, Indiana: “We’ve got you covered.” Since 1988, these professionals have served as Hamilton County’s one-stop shop for home improvement needs. These local plumbers offer expert craftsmanship and honest estimates. Call today for plumbing service.
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