Judaline Cassidy is a plumber and tradeswoman activist. Since the 1970s, women have made up less than 3 percent of U.S. construction workers — and only 1.6 percent of U.S. plumbers. Which is curious for an industry with practically no gender pay gap.
“I get to create things with my hands, and I get to solve a puzzle,” Cassidy tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “It’s not just toilets. It’s hospitals, schools.”
When Cassidy tried to join her local union in 1994 in New York City, she was denied — and told to “go home and do the dishes.”
I have fought for injustice and what is right always. I’m a superhero but even sheros needs help. This is hard for me to do because I’ve always found a way to make Sh** happen because, that’s what I do. It’s a all or nothing Campaign. If we don’t hit our goal we get a ZERO 💰.Please donate to @tools_n_tiaras campaign. Be my Hero!! Link in bio. #plumbers #needsahero #hero #sheroes #womeninstem #constuction #toolsandtiaras #toolsofthetrade #donate #girlscharity #needshelp
A post shared by Judaline Cassidy (@judaline6) on Jun 23, 2018 at 3:35pm PDT
“Just being on a construction site is being bold,” she says. “You have all of these men just staring at you. And you have to walk in like ‘I belong here.’ Because they look at you like you don’t belong.”
In 1995, after a male colleague advocated on her behalf, Cassidy was able to join Staten Island Plumbers Union 371, becoming the first woman out of 6,000 members. In 2016, she became the president of Plumbers Local No. 1 NYC Women’s Committee, where she mentors current and hopeful female plumbers. “I truly love the union,” she says. “I am an African-American woman, and I don’t get 65 cents. I get the same as a guy. He gets a dollar, I get a dollar.”
Today, Cassidy is one of 90 women in her union and runs the nonprofit Tools & Tiaras, which seeks to encourage young girls to pursue lucrative trade careers. “We need to let girls start touching tools earlier,” she says. “It opens up a whole new world.”
She’s also parlayed her experience into speaking and mentoring gigs, has appeared on the Today show and Build, and is an advocate for learning and equality.
#Repost @brasscraft with @get_repost ・・・ New Blog Post! Link in profile👆. We salute @judaline6 who is making a difference in promoting trades among young women and girls trough her @tools_n_tiaras program. And this year @brasscraft is honored to be one of the sponsors of the construction skills summer camp for 👩🏽🔧girls👩🏻🏭ages 6-19 taking place in NY this month. During this camp, girls will learn basic electrical, plumbing, carpentry, auto mechanic and many other skills. Read about the program in our latest blog post, and show some support to Judaline and her mission! #toolsandtiaras #brasscraft #plumbers #plumbing #femaleplumber #plumbingcraft #girlsintrades #summercamp #girlssummercamp
A post shared by Judaline Cassidy (@judaline6) on Jul 10, 2018 at 2:45pm PDT
Regarding sexism, she told Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls recently, “When I experience it, I call it out — but I do it with humor. I see it as a chance to take the power position that he is trying to take from me. When men try to make fun of my gender or height, I only see it as a way to make me stronger. I will get the last laugh every time, because I’m walking away better than I was before. I’m definitely aware and confident that I’m a master at my craft, just like the men.”
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