Celebrating Women in Plumbing on International Women's Day

Back in 1951, Lillian Ann Baumbach of Arlington, VA, became the first woman in U.S. history to acquire a Master Plumber license. Yet, although this was more than 70 years ago, society still perpetuates the outdated stereotype that the plumbing industry is a male-dominated field, in which women play a minimal role. Flash forward to the year 2021 and women plumbers are increasingly making their presence known in the trade industry and beyond. 
From their involvement in World Plumbing Day to owning and operating vastly successful plumbing companies, take a look at how female plumbers are crushing trade industry stereotypes and paving the way for the next generation of women in plumbing.

Plumbing Isn't Just for Men

Plumbing has been historically viewed as a "dirty" job, which contributes to the limiting belief that only men are fit for this type of work. When young women begin researching future career aspirations, they’re rarely presented with the idea of becoming a plumber—or choosing a trade job for that matter. Fortunately, as time has passed, an increasing number of females have been introduced to the great potential they may have in the plumbing industry.
According to the National Center for Women’s Equity in Apprenticeship and Employment, between 2017 and 2018 alone, the number of women working in all trade industries increased by almost 18%. The number of female plumbers, pipelayers, pipefitters, and steamfitters skyrocketed by 70% in just one year. Female trade workers account for more than a quarter of a million women, and while not nearly as robust as the males in the trade, women’s job gains have outpaced the overall job growth in construction trades, including plumbing, for three years.

Women's Involvement in World Plumbing Day

March 11 marks World Plumbing Day, an international event first initiated by the World Plumbing Council in 2010. On this day, we highlight the importance of the plumbing industry workforce and its role in maintaining our communities’ safe and healthy water supply. But not only does the month of March hold World Plumbing Day, but it also marks Women’s History Month!
In the midst of this time to celebrate strong, independent women, there is a plethora of resources dedicated specifically for women in trades. To get a glimpse of women’s involvement in World Plumbing Day, consider this collection of nonprofit tradeswomen organizations sharing resources for women in plumbing: 

Highlighting Women Plumbers

Tradeswomen in the 1960s and 1970s had Josephine the Plumber to look up to. Although just a commercial character for the cleaning brand Comet, Josephine was one of the first mainstream depictions of a woman playing a significant role in the plumbing industry. Today, the woman next door, down the block, or next to you in the grocery store can be the next Josephine the Plumber. 
More women across the U.S. are venturing into plumbing and blazing a path for young girls who want to do the same. Here is a spotlight on two companies doing just that. 

M. Cary & Daughters Plumbing

With over 40 years of experience, Georgia-based, female-powered plumbing company M. Cary & Daughters Plumbing was founded by Mitchel Cary in 1978. His two daughters, Melissa and Michelle, rode along in their father’s plumbing truck for fun throughout their youth and picked up quite a few skills over the years. Then, 10 years later, Melissa would go on to obtain her Master Plumbing license, making her one of the youngest female plumbers in the South.
After recruiting her sister Michelle as an apprentice, the two spent numerous years spreading the word of their female-operated plumbing company. With later women plumber additions, including Kim Kelley and U.S. Air Force-trained plumber Kat Peterson, M. Cary & Daughters Plumbing has acquired numerous industry awards and recognition in the Metro Atlanta area.

Milestone Plumbing 

Originating in the basement and garage of her Wisconsin home, Jessie Cannizzaro began Milestone Plumbing in 2011. As a child, Jessie spent weekends and summers with her father Tom, who owned his own plumbing business for over 40 years. As an adult, Jessie earned an undergraduate degree in business and a Master of Business Administration at the University of Wisconsin, all while completing a five-year plumbing apprenticeship. 
Working hard under a local plumbing company, Jessie decided right before her 30th birthday to take a leap of faith and start Milestone Plumbing herself. With her company now in the same Wisconsin area that her father previously serviced, Milestone Plumbing employs numerous licensed and journeyman plumbers, apprentices, and office support staff.

Don’t Let False Stereotypes Dictate Your Career Path

Proudly Essential Pros, powered by MORSCO, know what it takes to be a top-notch plumber, and gender has absolutely nothing to do with it. If you’re questioning if now is the time to join other females in the plumbing industry, consider this your sign! Join and celebrate the women plumbers today.