From welder to machinist, carpenter to cop, the exemplary women whose voices resound throughout this inspiring anthology span ages, cultures, lifestyles and educational backgrounds as varied as the tools of their respective trades. Yet all are pioneers: females employed as skilled laborers in almost exclusively male fields. With integrity, spirit, touches of humor and much wisdom, they reveal their trials, triumphs, fears and dreams. On the downside is the double-edged sword of being both a woman and an apprentice, overt sexual harassment and quieter managerial discrimination. But also evident is the wonder of and pride in unique achievements. Two common themes emerge as particularly encouraging: the women truly love their work and emphasize camaraderie (not competition) among tradeswomen, solidified by the networking groups in which most are active participants. Cheers to Martin, electrician and tradeswomen organizer, for structuring a forum as literate and enjoyable as it is relevant. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)
The time has come to address the history of women working in fields that traditionally have been dominated by men, and these two titles do an admirable job. It is hard, however, to imagine either being selected by a student browsing for nonfiction. Hard Hatted Women is a well-written, well-edited study, based on interviews and essays from women in a wide variety of "non-traditional, blue-collar" jobs. Twenty-six women in twenty-six lines of work tell of the physical demands of being a carpenter, ironworker, miner, and truck driver, among others. The common thread, though, is sexism. An electrician says, "On one remodel job, a residence for elders, one of the electricians joked about pulling the fire alarm and raping all the women residents-mostly in their eighties and nineties.... When I tried to say why a comment like that wasn't funny, he suggested that I could rape all the men." Martin unveils the sexism and harassment in full spectrum. She's Been Working on the Railroad focuses on the many tasks, blue-collar and otherwise, women have done in railroading. Individual biographies focus on a variety of jobs: stewardess-nurse, research engineer, dispatcher, locomotive engineer, and telegraph operator. The well-done scholarly approach features a glossary and notes, as well as an index. The volume has eye appeal: many photographs and lots of white space entice the reader. The outlook of this book is more positive and appropriate for the age-level intended. Levinson gives examples of the sexism these women faced, but does so without an emphasis on harassment. She writes of a railroad Brahman: "She was an enthusiastic student, but every day the men tried to discourage her by making demeaning remarks, such as calling women inferior, and by telling her horror stories about accidents and deaths on the railroad." The brutal honesty of the first volume might be frightening to younger, less sophisticated girls. For example, there is a reference to a man putting his hand down a woman's pants, and forms of the word "shit" are used over and over. But each of these books leaves the reader with a sense of pride in these women who have overcome great obstacles to enter their fields. Photos. Note: This review was written and published to address two titles: Hard-Hatted Women: Life on the Job and She's Been Working on the Railroad. VOYA Codes: 3Q 1P S (Readable without serious defects, No YA will read unless forced to for assignments, Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
In this lively collection, 26 women talk about their experiences in non-traditional, blue-collar work. Employed in occupations such as ironworkers, carpenters, truck drivers, and electricians, they describe the large and small challenges of life on the job. Their candid first-person narratives express common themes: the drive to prove oneself in trades where women are still underrepresented, struggles with harassment from male co-workers, and the sweet success of confidence, new skills, and earning higher wages. Martin is an electrician and a worker-activist. Lacks a subject index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Tradeswomen are survivors; they have to be if they plan on making a career in "the trades." Imagine having to fight your way through every day at work, warding off nasty, sexist comments, and trying to make a living doing something that is 95% male populated.(Perhaps you can relate). That's what many women in the trades have been contending with for years. Tradeswomen—women who work in nontraditional occupations such as electician, sheet metal worker, machinist, trucker or merchant sailor–face an inordinate amount of hazing, condescension and struggle. These stories, written form the real-life experiences of blue collar women, assure us that women in all occupations are struggling and succeeding in making a change; whatever it be political or social, it's definitely happening. Hard-Hatted Women gives us heart-felt and gut-wrenching accounts of women fighting to overcome indignities perpetuated by society. Their voices are strong, resonating and humorous.