Despite great strides toward workplace equality, today women represent only 3% of the entire construction industry in the U.S. That’s why Judaline Cassidy has her work cut out for her—and we can’t think of anyone better suited for the job.
Cassidy was born in the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago where she started her career in plumbing, and soon moved to the States. Passionate about her career and confident in her skills, she was unintimidated by the male-dominated workplace. But nothing prepared her for being flatly rejected by the plumbers union. Eventually, through hard work, grit and determination, she was accepted into the union—and vowed to ensure young women of the future wouldn’t have to endure the inequalities she suffered.
With little more than a dream and some tools, Cassidy founded Tools & Tiaras—a New York City-based non-profit that teaches girls aged 6-19 construction and plumbing skills through hands-on projects. “I had been looking for organizations with a similar mission but wasn’t finding any in the area,” explains Cassidy. “From the beginning, I said I wanted to give girls a tool and a tiara—so they can build something with their hands and feel like a warrior princess.”
Through summer camps, conferences and workshops, Cassidy and her team of volunteers’ mentor girls from diverse backgrounds, teaching them real-life skills beyond the workbench—fostering creativity, collaboration and self-expression while building confidence.
Cassidy has been using her own salary to fund Tools & Tiaras, but has big hopes for the future. “My goal is to have chapters all over the country—all over the world—and little girls can be whatever they want to be,” she says. “When someone believes in you and you believe in yourself, you take control of your own future.”
Interested in joining Tools & Tiaras on their mission? Visit https www.toolsandtiaras.org to get involved, donate or learn more about the organization!