Earning money in a field that you love isn’t always attainable for various reasons, but some people are finding ways to make that happen. For women, that sometimes means entering a field that is male dominated.

Breaking through those barriers is not always an easy road, but if you’re like Carly Gayle, you keep it pushing because you love what you do. The 30-year-old UK woman is a plumber and is one of a few in her area. Although she faces sexism on a fairly regular basis, she’s learned to take it all in stride.

Gayle got her start when she was 15 years old, working side by side with her father who is also a plumber. When she decided she wanted to go to school to learn the trade, there was only one other female in the program of 200 students.

She asked her father about becoming his apprentice, but he tried his best to deter her from working in the field. She told Daily Mail:

“I wanted him to give me an apprenticeship but he wouldn’t. He didn’t really want me to go into the same industry as him because he knows it’s a hard life, it’s hard work, it’s a lot of responsibility and he knew I would get a lot of stick.”

However, Gayle says that it’s her father’s support, guidance, and encouragement that let her know she could indeed do this work. It’s not uncommon for her to surprise customers when she shows up at their doorsteps, and many have mistaken her for a model. They soon learn to take her seriously.

People have said ‘Where’s the man?’ when I’ve turned up at jobs before, and I’ve also had people not believe I’m qualified or actually able to do the job.

There’s been other times I’ve been in B&Q in my normal clothes with my handbag, looking at tools – knowing exactly what I’m looking for – and have had groups of lads come up to me and say, ‘Don’t hurt yourself darling.’

I just flash them my Gas Safe register card, and they soon shut up. The comments used to get to me but they’ve only served to make me really thick skinned. It’s definitely made me more feisty.”

Gayle shared that when she first met her husband, he thought it was cool that she was training to be a plumber, and in the early stages of their courtship, she was the designated handyperson. Because of her, he now knows how to tinker and fix things.

The mom of one relishes her work and doesn’t mind getting dirty. However the griminess sometimes prevents her from enjoying the fancy manicures she loves to get.

To Gayle, it’s worth it. She says that she earns a good living, making around £36,000 ($45,000 USD), but besides that, she is happy to be of service to her customers. Many of them are women or elderly clients who feel more comfortable with having a female plumber in their homes.

Further, she wants to shake up gender norms in the industry. Gayle thinks the tide is shifting a little bit for women plumbers but admits there is still a way to go. She hopes to see more women entering professions like hers in the future.

What do you think of this woman’s story? Have you ever hired a female plumber, electrician, or other worker that is typically male? Are you a female working in a male-dominated trade?