Empowering Herstory: How Female Linemen are Empowering Themselves to Break Barriers

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re revisiting our Women in Power series. This week, we reflect on our interview with Alicia Rogers, where she discusses what it’s like to be a woman working in a male-dominated industry.

 

Addressing the challenges she faces as a woman in the utility industry, Alicia expresses, “I feel like I kind of stick out like a sore thumb. You have to work with guys to prove you’re capable.” Yet, despite her competence, Alicia finds herself in a perpetual cycle of having to prove herself time and again. “It’s like they can’t believe it until they see it,” she adds with a hint of frustration.

However, challenges extend beyond skepticism to practical matters that could impact her safety like gaining access to appropriately sized protective safety apparel. Reflecting on this challenge, Alicia mentions, “I’ve gone to places, and they don’t have my size, so it makes the job harder.”

When asked why it’s all worth it, despite these challenges, Alicia stated that working as part of a union – in her case, the IBEW Local 429 out of Nashville, Tennessee ensures her access to equal wages and unbeatable benefits. Plus, Alicia loves working outside, which is another rewarding aspect of her line of work. She shared, “Anyone who has been stuck in an office knows that you watch pretty days pass you by.” She also notes that while inclement weather is undesirable and can require extensive travel and some very long hours, she knows people are grateful for the work linemen perform during hurricanes and other weather events.

For other women in her same position, Alicia recommends finding encouragement through a support group. She recalls, “When I came up through the industry, I didn’t have anybody. But nowadays, Facebook has a tradeswomen chat, and there are a lot of us on there. It’s not just linemen; it’s a place to go talk to people in male-dominated trades and get free advice on what to do.”

To watch the full episode and learn more about Alicia’s experience, click here.

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