Does a job have a gender? Self-described feminist plumber, tradeswoman activist, and motivational speaker Judaline Cassidy says no.
Tuesday morning (2 April) Ms. Cassidy brought her message of empowerment to CIFEC, where she found a receptive audience.
“From the moment that I became a plumber, my life changed,” motivational speaker Judaline Cassidy told students, sharing her personal journey of becoming a tradeswoman with CIFEC students at a Tuesday assembly. “I still actually love plumbing every single day, plus the money I’m not going to lie, it’s the money.”
Besides providing a solid income – Ms. Cassidy said she pulls down more than $100,000 US dollars a year working in New York City – the Trinidad native enjoys her profession. So much so, that she’s working to inspire other women and girls to consider careers in technical trades.
“We want to show them that being a tradesperson is equivalent to being a lawyer, being a tradesperson is equivalent to being a doctor,” she said.
Ms. Cassidy admitted breaking into a male-dominated profession was a challenge, and as a 4’11” black woman from the Caribbean she said she’s changing perceptions about what a tradesperson should look like…
“I found out what I do, a lot of women don’t do, a lot of men can’t do it, and I really want to pass that onto girls, that they can be anything they want to be, and that jobs don’t have genders,” said Ms. Cassidy.
“Seeing her, to me makes a difference,” said CIFEC student Kimayea Desouza.
She is a participant in the Public Works Department’s apprenticeship programme. As an aspiring architect, she told Cayman 27 Ms. Cassidy’s message resonates with her.
“I’m so happy that she didn’t let no one stop her and tell her that she couldn’t do it,” said Ms. Desouza.
“That’s actually many peoples opinions: you’re a girl, you don’t belong in construction, why are you in there?” said Remi Bush Jackson, who is also with CIFEC and in the PWD apprenticeship programme.
She said she found Ms. Cassidy’s words inspirational.
“It’s a male-dominated industry so you know, it is very good to hear inspiring words from a successful woman in construction, especially from the islands, it is very encouraging,” said Ms. Bush Jackson.
Ms. Cassidy said she’s planning to bring her non-profit ‘Tools and Tiaras’ to Cayman, forging strong girls in a summer camp.
Now here’s some eye-opening statistics:
According to the Spring 2018 Cayman Islands labour force survey, more than 5,600 men hold positions in craft and related trades. Meanwhile, just 72 women are working in the same category of employment.