Millennial Women Are Rocking the Male-Dominated Profession of Welding

It’s no secret that there are too many younger people out there – millennials, mostly – who have found themselves with expensive college degrees, tons of unpaid student loans, and not a well-paying job in their chosen field in sight.

There is (or will soon be) a dearth of skilled laborers, since for decades now, we’ve pushed the idea that college degrees are the only way to get ahead in the world.


Millennials, especially women, are figuring out how to change those facts, and some – like Megan, who gave an interview to Forbes – are doing that by grabbing up skilled jobs that have historically belonged to men.

In 2010, women made up 4% of the welding workforce, and by 2018, that number had only grown to around 5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As a high schooler, Megan wasn’t set on busting stereotypes or making a living in a man’s world – like most of us, she just wanted to find a career that she enjoyed and that could support herself. Welding was a good choice; unlike many manufacturing jobs, it’s typically done on site, which means jobs are less likely to be sent offshore.


The industry itself is expected to grow by 6% by 2026, and right now, there aren’t nearly enough welders to meet increasing demands.

The industry has focused on recruiting women in recent years, employing initiatives like Weld Like A Girl and Women Who Weld – and it seems to be (slowly) working.

Weld Like a Girl is an empowerment project that aims to use welding and creativity to boost the self-esteem and whole-person wellness of girls and women around the country. They “might show up in your neighborhood, at the local college or university, or even in the parking lot at your middle school,” to make empowerment accessible on the community level.

“My dad was very supportive of me learning a skill that most women don’t know and ‘back in the day’ wouldn’t even want to learn,” Megan said.


Still in high school, Megan told Forbes she discovered she liked welding.

“I love working with my hands, especially fabricating fascinating works of art and things people could use. When it comes to production welding, I can look at a Motor Grader passing by my house and proudly say, ‘I built that.'”

Megan works as a welder at John Deere Davenport Works in Davenport, IA, and hopes that her story – and other girls and women seeing her at work – will inspire others who want to get into “man’s work” as well.

It seems to be working, as she’s trained others like herself and says that the men she works with don’t think much about her toiling alongside them at all.

It seems as if the world really is changing, and for the better, even if it can be a slow road. If you’ve got daughters (or sons) make sure they know that all honest professions are worthy of their consideration, and that earning a fair wage for an honest day’s work can happen even if you decide college isn’t for you.

Pass it on!