Celebrating women in boiler making

Mashudu Mambo

AS we wrap up the women’s month, we celebrate Andy Chitanje (40), a boiler maker who has defied all odds and is thriving in a male-dominated industry.

The theme of the International Women’s month is “Inspire Inclusion” which emphasises on the importance of diversity and empowerment in all aspects of society.

The goal of the celebration is to raise awareness of the achievements of women in social, economic and political aspects worldwide. According to Prime World, the percentage of female welders is growing, in 2010, there were 6,7 percent female welders and in 2022 the percentage increased by 7,7 percent. This increase is owed to a number of women who have decided to break barriers and thrive in male-dominated industries. Chitanje is a qualified welder who is working towards attaining her green card.

“I am a mother and growing up I have always been someone who liked being unique, although I never imagined myself working in a male-dominated industry. I did office work for 10 years and decided to find a side hustle that I could do for extra income. I took up boiler making because I could incorporate it with my décor business but little did I know that I would fall in love with arc welding,” she said.

She highlighted the challenges that she encountered as a welder and indicated the importance of dedication in taking up challenging crafts.

“The journey has not been easy because welding requires dedication, manpower, and patience. I started in 2021 and I was the only female in my class and even at work. This is what made me constantly remind myself of why I started because of the number of criticisms that one gets in being in a male-dominated industry,” she said.

She highlighted that thriving in a male-dominated industry requires discipline as a number of men might take advantage of you.

“The challenge that I faced and still continue facing is the need to constantly prove myself in everything that I do. This is because men tend to feel intimidated and at times feel that if one is a woman they are not able to cut using a grinder and let alone lift the different tools. Women are usually viewed as weak and they tend to want to offer help but I always made sure that I completed the assigned tasks and avoided using short-cuts to get things done,” said Chitanje.

Chitanje expressed that women who aspire to work in male-dominated industries have to be disciplined as there are a number of challenges that may end up destroying one’s career.

“There are a number of male counterparts who do not understand ethics and would want to prey on the females and if they turn them down they tend to make their life unbearable.

“This has been a temptation that a number of women had to face but I believe that discipline is crucial as it has the power to either grow or destroy your career,” she said.

Chitanje urged women aspiring to be boiler makers to believe in themselves and not to be intimidated.

“My message to aspiring boiler makers is that they have to overcome their fears and not be scared of thriving in a male-dominated industry. There is no need to be scared of the welding rod, let the arc be a spark in your life,” she said.


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