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More On Women In The Trades
I appreciated your April article on “High School Technical Education Programs Still Being Segregated” on page 32. While I know firsthand that there is still a deep undercurrent of hostility towards tradeswomen, it has improved a lot in the 18 years that I've been involved.

I was pleasantly stunned when I attended a mandatory class on sexual harassment, hosted by my union (Plumbers #130). While some guys looked like they were about to get a tooth pulled, many of the younger men were asking a lot of questions - to ensure that their wives were being treated fairly and with respect on their jobs. (Moms, take a bow - we're raising our boys better.)

We have the laws in place, but since we can't legislate attitudes, our next task is to better develop them. I feel the best way we can do that is to continue talking about it. That's why I like reading PM. You're the only publication I've come across that addresses the issue of hiring and training women in a positive way.

I also agree with your article, that we need to inform more high-school age girls (and boys, for that matter, since vo/tech schools are dwindling here in Chicago) of the opportunities available in our industry.
K. Leslie McNamara
Chicago, Ill.

Where are the women? I know there are one or two around, but is there any industry study on why we don't have more in the trades? Seems like with all the women who are decision-makers in the home that women plumbers would be a natural fit, especially in the service side of plumbing.

Yeah, there may occasionally be a strength issue, but there sometimes is for guys, too, so I don't see that as any real impediment for a woman to work in this trade.

Besides, have you seen women's sports lately? They can handle pretty much any strength issue that comes along from what I've observed.
Ed O'Connell
O'Connell Plumbing Inc.
Fairfax, Calif.

Tool Tip Concerns
In your April issue, on the “Tool Tips” page, Brad Walter “brags” about a timesaving idea he came up with. He claims to save time by cutting closet bolts off with a bolt cutter! A BOLT CUTTER? He can't be serious ... I hope!

So he saves time cutting the bolt with a bolt cutter, but does he ever go back to remove the nuts from the bolts? I doubt if he has, because his “timesaver” wouldn't be so timesaving at that point. As a matter of fact, if you listen closely, you will hear the four letter words rolling off the poor tech's tongue.
Bill McGrath
W. McGrath Plumbing & Heating
Andover, Conn.

In the March 2006 PM, the “Tool Tips” winner recommends clearing oil lines with 60-70 pounds of air pressure. Mr. Campbell, and any one that follows his recommendation, can be opening Pandora's box. If an oil line is on the brink of failure and resides under ground, putting on excessive pressure can and will rupture the line and it can go undetected for an extended period of time. This can cause a homeowner a severe financial cost of cleaning up a contaminated hazardous site.
Paul O'Keefe
Horan Oil Corp.
Stoughton, Mass.