Women in Construction (WIC) Week, originally founded in 1953 by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), was created to support women working in the industry. The week has grown over the years, successfully amplifying women's voices to the point where many construction and manufacturing companies have also turned their attention to celebrating and supporting women in the trade. Reliance Worldwide Corporation (RWC) is one of them.
"By supporting women in construction, we can create a more inclusive industry and attract new talent to fulfill the increasing number of open positions within the trades," said Emily Connell, director of brand marketing and communications for RWC Americas. "RWC and its family of brands understand the importance of supporting diverse talent, including women, especially within the plumbing trade."
Plumbing professionals, such as Starr Delgado, Kim Yeagley and Anna Pearson, have been overcoming plumber stereotypes for years. RWC recently met with these three plumbers to promote their stories and share their perspectives as women in the industry.
Yeagley, the owner of Gold Canyon Plumbing in Arizona, has been in plumbing for 15 years. "At first, I wasn't sure how guys were going to accept me," she said. "People doubt that I know my plumbing, but once I start talking shop, that's how I win everyone over."
Pearson, a plumbing apprentice at A-Better Plumbing in Las Vegas, wants to show the world that plumbers are all sorts of different people from various walks of life. To help demonstrate that, she uses her social media platforms, where she's affectionately known as the Plumbing Princess, to document her journey and promote the plumbing trade. "Genuinely, I want people to join the trades," she said. "I want it to be a growing industry again."
Delgado, a plumbing instructor at HBI Job Corps Plumbing Program in North Grafton, Massachusetts, offered advice to women looking to enter the trades. "There's always going to be challenges for women in the field," she said. "People are always going to say, you can't, you shouldn't or don't, but if you say, 'I'm going to, I can and I will' and stay focused, you can do it. You just have to have some thick skin. Being a plumber is an amazing career to be in."
RWC is doing its part to support women in plumbing by showcasing their talent and sharing their stories. The company plans to continue sharing similar stories to reach and inform the younger generation and diverse talent pools, in hopes that they begin to see the opportunities of pursuing a career in the trades.
"We will keep supporting women in plumbing by giving them a platform to share their stories," added Connell. "We need to hit the labor shortage head-on, and we can do so by ensuring everyone feels welcome in the trades and by defeating common stereotypes associated with plumbers. Part of achieving that includes telling authentic stories, changing people's perception of the trade and helping to create a more inclusive environment."