What can a Female Plumber learn from Margaret Thatcher?

female plumber on site showing her boss the problem

What can a female plumber learn from Margaret Thatcher?

With the recent passing of Margaret Thatcher, I was reminded of the time I viewed the movie ‘The Iron Lady’ with Meryl Streep. I found the movie to be incredibly inspiring but it also made me question the priorities in my own life.

You see, while I was inspired by Margaret Thatcher’s journey to become the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, it came at an incredible cost to her family. Her devotion to her career and to the people of Britain often meant that her children had to share their mother.

If you want to reach the top of your career, you need to work hard. There is no easy way to reach the top. I love the saying ‘No one ever reached the top by sitting on their bottom’. The problem is, hard work takes up a lot of time and that time is often taken away from spending it with those we love.

What a Female Plumber can Learn From Margaret Thatcher

  1. As a woman, don’t be limited by others thinking. Follow your dreams and think outside the square.
  2. Be prepared for people to not like what you do, but don’t let their opinions affect you and your cause.
  3. Be willing to listen to others and change when needed. No one likes an arrogant leader.
  4. Work out what is important to you – work or family. If both are equally important, try and balance the two or be willing for one to be dominant over the other and be prepared for the battle to give more attention to one than the other when needed.
  5. A woman doesn’t have to be manly to do a ‘man’s’ job. She just has to have strong character and confidence to deliver through.
  6. Behind every great woman is a great man (and vice versa). When Margaret’s husband, Denis Thatcher, died in 2003 she quoted ‘Being Prime Minister is a lonely job. In a sense, it ought to be: you cannot lead from the crowd. But with Denis there I was never alone. What a man. What a husband. What a friend.’

There are 29 licensed female plumbers in Queensland today. I am one of them.

My job as a plumber is seen as a novelty and not the normality.

The opportunity for females to enter a trade will continue to grow.

But as each female plumber comes through the system, they will need support because it can be hard going attempting to make a career in a field where they are often looked on as inferior.

As I reflect on my career as a plumber and doing my apprenticeship, I had the support of two strong men in my life; my husband and my dad. Both men knew me so well, they were strong enough to lift me up when I felt pressured down.

I want to flourish with my work, but I don’t want to compromise my family life either. At times it can be hard to have the drive but carefully manage career and family.

Margaret Thatcher came from humble beginnings and we can take encouragement knowing that no matter our background, we can achieve anything we put our mind to.

The destination is the ultimate goal, but we can’t make ourselves so busy that we forget to enjoy the journey and the interruptions on that journey that life brings (like kids).

I’ll leave you with this famous quote from the lady who lived her life to the full.

“If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.”