Women & Traditionally Male Trades

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Women Electricians and IBEW Local 46

In addition to the Seattle International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ support of the women telephone operators union, they also allowed women who joined the IBEW to run for officer positions. Margaret Whitten, elected Financial Secretary of IBEW Local 46 in 1918, became the first woman to serve in an elected position of the IBEW—a “regular ‘man’s local’” as the article states.

“Electricians Elect Woman” news clipping, September 1918.
Seattle Union Record (Seattle, WA). University of Washington Libraries Microforms & Newspapers.

Women in the Puget Sound Shipyards

Although few in number, women did work in the shipyards during World War I. This photograph features women rivet heaters, including several Black women who were limited in their employment opportunities in Washington.

Reproduction of group photograph of women rivet heaters at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, WA, approximately 1917-1918.
Courtesy of the National Archives, photo no. 86-G-11F-7.