Women who are pioneers in any industry really should be saluted because if you come to think of it, every industry is indeed male-dominated in some way or another. There are however some industries which are automatically and specifically associated with “the man,” whether it’s at the ownership level or at the execution level, especially if it involves physical labour. I just thought it would be nice to briefly share some encounters I found interesting, during which some pioneering women had interesting experiences and reactions towards their involvement in traditionally male-dominated industries.
The Security Company Exec
This particular story had me in real stitches, but only because I can sort of relate. Over a periodic breakfast networking session, a fellow businesswoman who owns a home security company told me an interesting story of how she was mistaken to be some sort of admin lady or consultant when she personally interacted with a client whose security system kept giving him unusual problems. She told me she’d gotten used to dealing with the sexism and kind of likes the perplexed look on people’s faces when they eventually work out that she’s in fact the owner of the entire business. Apparently the client’s new system had the alarm incorrectly set to detect anybody walking through a specific sliding door as an intrusion, so it annoyingly went off every time. When she went to check it out herself, the client addressed her in a way that suggested that he genuinely believed she was “sent” there by some authoritative figure. He’d later go on to learn that she was the owner when he came into their offices for a consultation to change the security system in line with some conditions associated with his insurance. Naturally the manner in which he spoke to her changed a bit, but the look on his face must have been priceless.
The Contractor in Chief
Mistaken for an interior designer, which in fairness is indeed something she doubles-up as, another fellow business-breakfast networker just loved the bedevilled look on the face of a client who opened up for her when she returned to start with the contractual work on his home renovations. Apparently you could just tell the client was perplexed throughout the entire job, watching her taking charge and making sure everything got completed in a fully hands-on manner. He was particularly impressed with the secure garden storage unit which was assembled single-handedly by her, but that’s just one of those quirky moments which come with the territory of being a woman in what are predominantly male-dominated industries.
I have a few stories like that myself, but I guess there’s a lesson to be learned from such encounters. As a woman in business, you cannot let what has sadly become a natural scepticism get to you. If anything, it’s kind of nice to look forward to that priceless reaction when the light finally turns on the head of the onlooker that you’re in fact a pioneering woman who is just killing it in one or more of the various male-dominated industries.