Inspirational Stories

Can Women Actually be Good at Welding? – First Woman Welder Peggy (Merigo) Citarella

Not a lot of people are familiar with female welders. In fact, a lot of them think that women are a rarity in the welding industry. The truth could not be more opposite as today we have a lot of women that weld. The numbers are impressive, to say the least, and are a far cry from what we had in the past. In fact, predictions about women welders show improvements that are yet to come.

Unfortunately, this was not the case some years ago. Welding was predominantly seen as a man’s job. It is a dirty job that requires certain skills and strength that women were thought of not possessing. But modern times have shown us that this is not true as first women welders began emerging one after the other.

The Advantages of Women Welders

Many people are largely unaware of the advantages that women welders have as opposed to men. Sure, men are stronger and sturdier, but women actually have a lot more to offer when compared to their male counterparts.

Women have greater hand stability. Research has shown that female hands don’t shake so much as men do. Allowing for more precision work, which welding in many cases demands. Next, women have a lower center of gravity. This innate ability to balance themselves allows female welders to do work high up above the ground. Welding is a versatile trade and sometimes a worker is required to weld in awkward positions at a greater altitude.

Finally, women take better care of themselves. Welding is a dangerous type of job and safety is always a number one concern. Women take care of themselves much better than, suffer fewer injuries and consider the safety rules more seriously than men do.

What is the First Woman Welder’s Name?

Unbeknownst to many, the first woman welder’s name is Peggy (Merigo), Citarella. After finishing high school, Peggy was looking for a job and soon realized that men were paid a lot more than women for certain types of work were. One position that was particularly high on the list was welding.

Thus, during the 1940s Peggy began pursuing a career in welding. She soon began working for the Charlestown Navy Yard and became the first female rated welder. She greatly contributed to the ship construction during World War II, during which period 20% of the current workforce was comprised of women.

Now age 95, Peggy Citarella recently came back to the Charlestown Navy Yard and made an appearance at the place where it all started as a true pioneer of women welding.

Women in Welding Today

After WWII, the number of women in the welding industry started dropping. Currently, only 1% of the entire welding force in the US is comprised of women. But better times are ahead. Most of the experienced welders are coming to the point of retiring, which opens the door for women that want to join. Predictions say that women will become a huge part of the industry in just a few year’s time.

In fact, a lot of them are already doing the best job that they can. Lena Dotson, aka Carmen Electrode, and The Russian Welding Women are just some of the modern stars of contemporary female welding. Barbara Parsons, or Barbie the Welder, is one of the most prolific welding artists that we have today. Finally, Erica Heckman dreams about becoming a welding supervisor and a nuclear pipe welder, and one day she just might become the first woman to carry that title.

While automatization is getting more and more used in the manufacturing industry and welders are concerned there are really no good reasons to worry that the industry will drop the demand for jobs. The ongoing robotic vs manual labor topic has been ongoing for decades and manual welding, plasma cutting, brazing, or any kind of metalwork has been leading since forever. You can’t outwork the people with the machines. What you can do however is take specific constantly repeating tasks that have a low number of variables and automate them. But any sort of maintenance or manufacturing that requires thinking on your feet (which a lot of them do) can’t be automated. These jobs will always be an evergreen solution if you are looking at a prosperous trade career.”

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Yousaf Saeed

Yousaf holds a PhD in Engineering and he is 3 times winner of a fully-funded scholarship. It is his passion to write on education-related topics. He is a popular educationist, scholarship mentor, and well-known personality on social media. His passion is to write on academic research, educational tutorials and opportunities that students can benefit from.

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