These Women Transformed the Plumbing Industry as People Know It Today
It’s no surprise to many that plumbing is a male-dominated field. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 97 percent of plumbers and pipefitters are men. Less than three percent of plumbers are women, but that number’s slowly rising.
Many historical figures paved the way for today’s women to enter the workforce––women like Madam C.J. Walker, the first female self-made millionaire in the US. This Women’s History Month, one may be interested in learning about some of the women who changed the plumbing industry. Continue reading to learn more.
Fast Facts About Women in the Plumbing Industry
Here are some other things to know about women and the plumbing industry:
- Contrary to the information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Air Conditioning Contractors of America notes that even more women are entering the home improvement industry than previously thought. About nine percent of newcomers to the field are women in the HVAC industry alone. This could mean more women are becoming plumbers than initially expected.
- Wolfram Alpha notes that over 417,000 people are employed as plumbers in the United States. In 2019, the number was much higher.
- Studies show that despite the number of vacancies in the plumbing industry, women are hesitant to enter the field because of harassment and discrimination.
Yet, that has not stopped the women on this list from making their marks in the plumbing industry.
Meet the Ladies Auxiliary Committee for the National Association of Plumbers
At the turn of the 20th century, more and more men were finding work as plumbers. However, while they performed their duties, they were concerned about what their wives would do in the meantime. This led to the birth of the Ladies Auxiliary Committee for the National Association of Plumbers, which eventually grew to include tens of members.
Surprisingly, men were first in charge of the Ladies Auxiliary Committee for the National Association of Plumbers. They organized social events, such as luncheons to keep their wives occupied. Eventually, women took charge of the organization and changed the focus from socializing to advocating for various causes, including:
- Women’s right to vote: Many members of the Ladies Auxiliary Committee for the National Association of Plumbers believed that women should have the right to vote, just as men did.
- Sanitation: When the Ladies Auxiliary Committee for the National Association of Plumbers was in full swing, many public restrooms (especially those at Texaco gas stations) were not regularly cleaned. The organization launched a campaign urging businesses to clean their bathrooms, which would limit the spread of disease.
Today, the Ladies Auxiliary Committee for the National Association of Plumbers still exists but under a new name. True to the organization’s original purpose, it continues to combine social activism with socializing as part of its activities.
Meet Lillian Ann Baumbach (also known as the “Pretty Plumber”)
Lillian Ann Baumbach knew she wanted to be a plumber from a very young age. Her passion started when she was just 12 years old and went out on service calls with her father, a plumber by trade. When she graduated from high school in 1947, she knew she wanted to be a master plumber.
Yet managing her father’s plumbing business and going out on calls was only one part of Baumbach’s life. In the 1950s, she became a pin-up girl, a favorite of those serving in the Korean War. At one point, she was penpals with over 250 men, some of which proposed marriage.
She continued leaving her mark on the plumbing industry and retired peacefully in 1987. At the time of her passing, she was survived by her two daughters.
About Falcon Plumbing
Falcon Plumbing provides homeowners peace of mind with 24/7 emergency services, no overtime charges, and comprehensive plumbing services in Miami, FL. Call them today to hire a trusted and experienced plumber.