An 7th article in the series "Women in the Powersports Industry", highlighting the determination, leadership and commitment of many exceptional women who make a difference in this industry.
There are women in all sorts of jobs in powersports. The vehicle assembly plant is an essential part of the industry and, for a long time, was the domain of men. Annie Dussault has been a welder at BRP in Valcourt for 24 years.
What’s it like to be a woman in powersports?
I must admit it wasn’t easy to start with. There weren’t, still aren’t, many women welders. As in any profession, whether you’re a woman or a man, you have to prove yourself before you feel completely accepted. Now I’ve demonstrated that I’m competent at what I do, I feel I fit in and that my colleagues, both men and, women respect me.
I believe that what helps this acceptance is the increase in women welders. It's much more common now.
What still needs to be done?
We have to face the fact that welding has always been done mostly by men, and therefore structured for men. With the increase in women welders, we need to start thinking about adapting the workstations, not only for women, but for all people of lighter build who aren’t as strong. In manufacturing, everything is heavy. Plus, we work at a fast pace, so it would really help to adapt the ergonomics and weight of equipment to make work more comfortable, but also to improve efficiency. If we don’t do this, we’re continuing to put everyone who’s lighter built, including women, at a disadvantage in this profession.
What do you do to promote women in your field?
I believe we need to help each other if we want to move things forward. So, I contribute by giving advice. I try to give tips to other women, based on what I’ve learned, and I encourage them to point out what’s wrong with the equipment. I notice some change, but as I said, there’s still a lot to do to make assembly lines more accessible to women. I’m sure we’ll get there. We have to stand together and stay strong. Together, we can help the situation improve, whatever it is.
"We have to stand together and stay strong."