When was the last time your favorite superhero used powers to ensure you have safe drinking water and proper sanitation? The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) is leading the charge to spotlight the real-life superheroes who protect our everyday lives by launching a new children’s coloring book. “My Mom Is a Plumbing Superhero” is the first children’s book focused exclusively on women plumbers, lifting up their contributions to public health while aiming to shift perceptions of plumbing careers.
IAPMO partnered with real-life superhero plumber Judaline Cassidy, a proud member of Plumbers Local Union No. 1 NYC, founder of Tools & Tiaras, and one of CNN’s “Champions for Change.” Inspired and guided by Cassidy’s 25-year career, “My Mom Is a Plumbing Superhero” creatively brings to life what it’s really like to be a plumber building a modern hygiene infrastructure.
“All of us at IAPMO are inspired by Judaline’s career journey and her message that plumbing careers are not gendered. Rather, it is about having the best plumbers to improve the way we live,” IAPMO CEO Dave Viola said.
The book illustrates how plumbers work on advanced water technologies to mitigate the effects of drought and natural disasters. The helpful nature of plumbers comes to life with illustrations depicting the work of service plumbers. The book also portrays women installing and maintaining medical gas systems.
“People need to know that plumbing is not just clogged toilets,” Cassidy said. “Clean water, steam heat, beautiful fixtures, gas lines—the pipes and systems that rely on my craft are in homes and buildings everywhere. My work is not only essential to daily life. My work saves lives.”
Only 2.1 percent of plumbers are women, according to 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“The bottom line is that we desperately need more plumbers and, therefore, must find creative, unique ways to fill this shortage,” Viola said. “Collaborating with Judaline is the perfect opportunity to convey to young girls and women—as well as career counselors, youth leaders, and parents—that plumbing careers are purposeful, meaningful, and lucrative.”
Cassidy founded the nonprofit Tools & Tiaras as part of her mission to show girls and women that Jobs Don’t Have Genders™. A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Cassidy has broken barriers over the last 25 years advocating for equity for women in the trades. She was one of the first women accepted into Plumbers Local 371 Staten Island, NY; the first woman elected to the Examining Board of Plumbers Local Union No. 1 NYC; and ushered in the first Women’s Committee within her union, becoming its first president.
“Awareness is key,” Cassidy said. “If young women and girls don’t know what plumbers actually do or how lucrative and rewarding a career in plumbing is, how can we expect them to consider, much less pursue, this path? It’s exciting for me to collaborate with IAPMO on such a fun project that will not only change what people think about plumbing but will show them that plumbers come in all genders and statures.”
IAPMO tapped noted children’s author Jo S. Kittinger and accomplished illustrator Chuck Galey to create “My Mom Is a Plumbing Superhero.” Kittinger has penned more than 35 books for children. Her book, “The House on Dirty-Third Street,” won several social justice awards, including a Christopher Award, a Social Justice Literature Award, and the Carol D. Reiser Children’s Book Award. Galey has illustrated more than 50 books for educational publishers and created covers for Beverly Cleary’s “Ribsy” and “Henry Huggins,” as well as R.L. Stine’s “Fear Street” series for Recorded Books Inc.
The 32-page book is available as a free PDF download, and qualifying organizations may order printed quantities from IAPMO at cost. Visit UniformCodes.org/plumbing-superhero for more information.