Judaline Cassidy, of Trinidad and Tobago, is the founder of Tools and Tiaras. It's a non-profit organisation that helps girls who want to pursue careers in fields that aren't traditionally female, such as construction and plumbing.
Tools & Tiaras connects young women with professional mentors in the industry to provide them with the support they need at all stages of their careers. They hope to make a change to the way society views and portrays what constitutes "women's work".
Despite not fitting the typical description of a plumber - Judaline is female, Black and barely 5 feet tall - she didn't let that stop her. She says that of course it was difficult as a Black woman.
"We’re treated like we’re not smart enough. We’re given menial tasks like going for coffee. It breaks you and you want to quit. But I told myself that no one would steal this opportunity from me. When I started, there was no other woman on the job. I would never cry in front of anyone. There were days I didn’t want to go to work. But I wanted to show people I was better than them.”
Today, as the first female plumber to be accepted into the Plumbers Local Union 371 in Staten Island, New York, and the first elected to the examining board of Plumbers Local Union No. 1 in New York City, she's proven that she's more than capable of doing a job traditionally reserved for men.
“To be honest, I love the money. It pays really well. I love working with my hands and being in the outdoors and working with other people from all different countries and races. And actually doing the plumbing work itself. I love the piping.”
By founding Tools & Tiaras, Judaline has found a way to share her passion for enabling women to succeed in non-traditional careers. She works with education providers, research institutes and businesses to encourage more young girls to consider careers in fields that weren't previously open to them. Judaline wants the path to success in these fields to be easier for other women than it was for herself:
"Growing up poor, I had no other way of succeeding unless I did it myself. I didn’t have a mother or father growing up. Once my great-grandmother passed away, I was on my own. I wanted to defy all expectations. That’s my motivator.”