Celebrate Women’s History Month By Learning About Women in Plumbing
March is Women’s History Month and a great time to celebrate women's many contributions to society. One often overlooked group of trailblazers are female plumbers and women in the industry who have been able to make their presence known in this male-dominated field. In honor of Women’s History Month, this blog will look back at some women who helped shape modern public health through plumbing and some facts about women in the plumbing industry.
Women in Plumbing Today
Plumbing has historically been and is still very much a male-dominated industry. According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 2.1% of plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters were female in 2022.
To help women succeed in this primarily male profession, organizations like the nonprofit membership organization Women in Plumbing & Piping (WIPP) offer education, scholarships, mentorship, and networking opportunities.
Ladies Auxiliary Committee for the National Association of Master Plumbers
The ladies' auxiliary committee for the National Association of Master Plumbers was originally composed entirely of men looking for ways to keep their wives busy while the master plumbers association held its annual convention. However, it became one of the oldest women’s organizations in the country.
When control of the organization shifted to an all-female board in 1919, something extraordinary happened. What had been a simple social club suddenly became an important platform for activism and advocacy. The ladies began advocating for the environment, sanitation, public health, and labor, including supporting the Family and Medical Leave Act. To impact legislation, they worked with legislators and spent significant time fundraising and lobbying. In 1938, the committee partnered with Texaco gas stations to improve restrooms and sanitation.
The First Female Master Plumber– Lillian Ann Baumbach
Becoming a master plumber is hard work, and in 1951 at the age of 21, Lillian Ann Baumbach became the first woman to be a master plumber in the United States. Growing up, Baumbach worked for her father and his plumbing company. She accompanied him on the job site for years, tucking her hair into her hat and working so hard that most of the others on the job site had no idea she was a woman. After years of hard work, she was ready to sit for the master plumber exam.
Lillian passed the test on the first try and became a national hero dubbed the “pretty plumber.” She was invited to speak publicly and interviewed multiple times. At the height of the Korean War, she corresponded with over 250 GIs, and after her father’s retirement, she took over the family business.
About Rooter 66 Plumbing Inc.
Rooter 66 Plumbing Inc. is a family-owned and operated local business serving Rancho Cucamonga and the surrounding communities. They provide competitive pricing, extended hours, and on-time arrival. Call them today for plumbing services in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.