With the emergence of the #MeToo movement and a resurgence of the issue of equality within the workplace, you’d think it would be easier for women to succeed in more male dominated industries. However, men are now feeling more threatened than ever by the presence of confident, highly skilled and knowledgeable women with sound business acumen. It can be difficult for women to break the mould and excel within an industry that is dominated by men. No matter how exceptional a female candidate may be, a position may be offered to a lesser qualified man instead.
Why is this? The people in the boardroom making the decisions are older men of a generation where maternity leave considerations and old school implicit sexism come into play. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t follow your dreams and enter the industry you wish to forge a career in.
As an entrepreneur, you are more free to set up your business in whatever field you wish. With the focus on encouraging more talented and able school girls to enter the science, technology, engineering and mathematical fields of study, the tables may begin to turn within a generation. Young girls often feel sidelined and intimidated by their male counterparts. With the impetus in acknowledging female talent within these spheres, a more equitable field may begin to emerge.
If you have a passion that some would deem more masculine, don’t shy away from it and embrace it. If you can tinker with an engine, change brake pads and service a car as good as any other man, then set up as a mechanic and start your car workshop. The niche you find within this industry starts with you. Female drivers are much more likely to have their MOT carried out at your garage rather than at a larger franchised and male dominated alternative. Head to One Sure Insurance, get your motor traders insurance and begin servicing those vehicles.
Change begins with youth. Now is the time when female role models are heading into schools and talking about their achievements. World class female scientists, astrophysicists, and sports legends are setting foot in high schools and enthusing girls (and boys) about their achievements. Boys also need to be subject to these inspirational women, as it will be this future generation of men, that will be the ones to view women in a more equal way, giving them more equitable opportunities and closing the gender pay gap even further.
Being a woman is empowering, yet within a male dominated industry, it can feel like we are still living in the 1950s. Change is generational, and the change is beginning now.
If you are keen to wave goodbye to your full time job and follow your dream of becoming a freelance engineer, heading up an accountancy startup or working as a mobile car valeting service, go for it. Sure, you might raise a few (male) eyebrows, but so what? You are the change, so embrace this status and see your startup thrive.