This plumber set up a program to introduce girls to the trades in hope they will follow in her bootsteps

“As a woman in a male-dominated room, especially an accented black immigrant and very short stature, people sometimes doubt what you are capable of,” Judaline Cassidy told CNN. “But that’s the important part of the story. He (the veteran unionist) later became one of my biggest supporters.”

Cassidy was the first woman to join this union. And now, more than 20 years later, she is the first woman to be elected to the union’s examination board.

“Plumbers come in all sizes and colors, and a lot of them look like me now. And that’s exactly what I’m trying to change – this stereotype.”

Tools & Tiaras participants examine a tire in a New York workshop.Tools & Tiaras runs monthly workshops and summer camps that introduce girls to construction trades such as plumbing, carpentry, and electrical engineering. The instructors are all women.At the end of each Tools & Tiaras camp, Judaline Cassidy takes the participants on a site tour.

“If we make it more visible and accessible, more women will jump on board and join the construction industry.”

The power of tools

Tanzira Rashid remembers her first workshop on tools and tiara at the age of 15.

“I had never seen anything like it. I saw so many tools around me and hard hats,” said Rashid. “When I was younger, I was never really exposed to construction.”

Now the scholar is going to college to study civil engineering.

“Coming from first-generation Bengali immigrant parents, I was really pressured to either go into the medical field or become a lawyer because my parents sacrificed everything to get to the US. Was in their eyes the only way to succeed is to either become a doctor or a lawyer. “

Penelope Amaya, 13, decided to attend a STEM high school after attending a Tools & Tiaras welding workshop.

“I fell in love with her right away. I want to be an architect or an engineer when I get older,” said Amaya excitedly. Tools & Tiaras showed me that women can do everything. “

Penelope Amaya, 13, attended a STEM high school after attending a Tools & Tiaras workshop.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Tools & Tiaras made this year’s camp virtual. The organization shipped kits to girls across the country.

“The best part of Tools & Tiaras are the girls. They are the magic,” said Cassidy. “Seeing their faces all lit up knowing they can use a drill gives me a climax. I call the girls ‘princess warriors’ because I believe women are very strong and we are very elegant too. “

Inspiration in Trinidad and Tobago

Cassidy grew up on the beautiful twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago with a house full of cousins ​​and a great-grandmother as a caretaker.

“I grew up very poor, but at the same time it was full of music and laughter,” recalled Cassidy. “I started Tools & Tiaras because I didn’t have a mother or a father. I grew up with no confidence. I had some, but not many, and I didn’t want a little girl growing up to feel that way.”

Judaline Cassidy began her career at the technical institute in Trinidad and Tobago.  She was one of three women accepted into the plumbling program.

The Trinidadian was only exposed to the craft in high school.

“I was literally kicked out of the writing class because I struggled with typing and got accepted into the technical drawing class,” Cassidy said with a laugh. So that was my precursor to plumbing without knowing it. “

But when her great-grandmother died, she couldn’t afford to go to university. So she decided to do a free education and applied to the business school.

“I chose plumbing like this – I said, ‘Plumbing, you get wet and electric, you get shocked. Plumbing, here I come!'”

Now Cassidy travels as a speaker spreading the importance of trading with others.

Judaline Cassidy speaks on stage during the 2017 MAKERS Conference on February 7, 2017 in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

“My mission is to give girls really only tools and let them build the world they want.”

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