Female Badass American Plumber Kelly Ireland is tiny but mighty! She discusses unfair judgements of women in trades and why she loves her job!
On this episode of the This is a Man’s World: She Who Dares Wins podcast, our guest is Kelly Ireland, a commercial plumber based in Philadelphia, U.S.A. Kelly is one of 10 children and a 4th generation plumber. She never dreamed of following in her family’s footsteps, but when she needed a job to support her kids, she got some advice from her dad before entering into a pre-apprenticeship class and eventually applying to the Building Trades Union.
She loves going to work every day because of the unique challenges and the rewards of the physical labor, particularly when driving past a completed project that she played a key role in building. While construction sites are still overwhelmingly male-dominated, Kelly does get to work with other women in the profession from time to time and she appreciates the comradery they all share. She enjoys getting to work with men who are supportive or neutral about women in the trades, and while it is never good to encounter prejudices and stereotypes, Kelly is always willing to put men in their place and stand up for herself and other women. Kelly has found great worldwide community through social media and she greatly enjoys getting to connect with other women in construction online as well as at events like the Women Build Nations event.
She is also an advocate for the LGBTQ community, ensuring that they are not subject to stereotypes and discrimination and encouraging them to pursue their career goals despite what people may say or think. She encourages women considering a career move to look into the construction industry because of its physical and financial rewards and the fulfillment of a job well done.
1:12 – How Kelly got into plumbing.
3:11 – What it is like to be a 4th generation plumber.
7:24 – Entering into the plumbing industry.
12:04 – How Kelly’s kids feel about her being a plumber.
14:20 – The recent popularity of the trades.
16:13 – Kelly explains unions.
21:35 – Kelly’s perspective of the construction industry.
26:18 – Unfair judgments of women.
31:00 – The representation of women on the UK and US job sites.
34:30 – Connecting with other women in the trades through social media.
37:48 – Kelly’s desire to give a true representation of the industry in her posts. 44:47 – The down and dirty secrets about being a woman in the trades.
49:32 – Kelly’s advocacy for the LGBTQ community.
53:06 – The caveman mentality that plagues some job sites.
59:17 – How working on construction sites and motherhood overlap.
1:02:55 – Advice for other women considering getting into the trades.
Key Quotes: “No one looks at buildings the way construction workers do…I want to see buildings naked. I love the core of the building, the guts of it.” “In this country (the U.S.) we really undervalue labor work and trade work.” “I absolutely love going to work.” “Just as many men don’t belong in the trades as women.”
Connect with Kelly:@tinyplumbergirl
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