The Girls are Coming

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Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 203 pages
In 1974, lured by good wages, a 22-year-old African American college student from suburbia started work as a pipefitter trainee for a utility company, one of the first women to break into this male-dominated world. Can women be trained to do men's work? According to Carlson, this unspoken question lurked in the minds of the male workers at a Minnesota natural gas company called Minnegasco when four women were hired in compliance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Act in 1974. One of the women, a 22-year-old African-American college student at the time, has now written an account of her experiences that supports her contention that her male co-workers' antagonism stemmed from sexism rather than racism. In fact, Carlson gave up her first company job as a meter reader because a black male employee schemed to make her life as difficult as possible. Trained as a pipe fitter instead, she describes the experiences, both good and bad, that she and a fellow female worker shared in fitting into a male environment. The author of a children's book (The Canning Season), Carlson writes with assurance, although the episodic narrative makes for a somewhat disjointed read. The anecdotes rely heavily on exact conversations between workers, but since the journals Carlson kept during this period were accidentally thrown away, the dialogue may be more accurate in spirit than verbatim. Despite the offensive jokes and unwelcome sexual advances she endured, Carlson became very fond of some of her supervisors and colleagues, who came to respect her ability to do her job. She dropped out of college and continued to work for 11 more years at Minnegasco, where she met her future husband.

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The girls are coming

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In 1972, Carlson became the first female licensed pipefitter in the state of Minnesota and one of the first women at the Minnesota Gas Company to hold a nonsecretarial position. Here she discusses the ... Read full review

The girls are coming

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In 1972, Carlson became the first female licensed pipefitter in the state of Minnesota and one of the first women at the Minnesota Gas Company to hold a nonsecretarial position. Here she discusses the ... Read full review

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