Women are breaking into “men’s” job markets everywhere, from tech to trucking to video games and science, and they’re doing so despite gender stereotypes, the wage gap, and the many challenges they face trying to break into the “good ol’ boys” club. But why would anyone want to face the added stress of working in a predominantly male field when work is stressful enough without it?
Forward-Thinking Companies Are Looking to Hire Women
With recent studies confirming the benefits of having a diverse team, many companies are actively seeking out female employees, wanting to improve their business’ performance and their bottom line. This opens up opportunities for career growth that weren’t available several years ago and provides the chance to make a difference – for yourself, for your clients, for businesses, and for womankind as a whole.
“I absolutely encourage girls showing promise in math and science to move forward in those fields. These are the up-and-coming careers for them,” says Deborah Mahler, owner of Internet Tech Specialists, an IT Security company that’s been in business for almost 20 years.
Greater Attention Means Greater Opportunity
Women working in non-traditional fields are making news every day. A woman excelling in a man’s world, after all, is newsworthy, and standing out from the competition can benefit your career.
“Becoming a ‘feminine’ female driver helped me get more attention from the media, sponsors and new opportunities that are targeting women,” says Ana Beatriz (Bia) Figueiredo, Indy Racecar Driver, in an interview with Red Shoe Movement discussing the advantages and disadvantages women in male-dominated industries can experience.
“Being a woman in a male-dominated field often means you are easily remembered,” states Heather L. Sidorowicz, president and owner of Southtown Audio Video, where she has served in her position for more than 14 years. “Usually I can just say my first name and people know who I am.”
Leading the Pack and Making an Impact
While women in some industries still have to work harder than men to get the same respect, doing so does have benefits.
“I learned the hard way that yes, it is more difficult because of my gender, and yes, I still have to work twice as hard as men in the field,” Deborah Mahler adds, “but I’m inspired by how far I’ve come. I worked hard and I’ve earned the right to be here.”
The importance of being a role-model and a mentor for other women of all ages cannot be understated. A good role model can transform a person, a team, a business, or the world, points out Sidorowicz.
“I think as women we need to create our own path more often and stop following in others’ footsteps. If you hate your job, quit,” she says. “We are at work more than anything else we do, so work needs to drive you in some way.” It’s something she reminds women of often as she mentors them. “I think women shouldn’t be afraid to go after a job that moves them.”