For all the progress society has made over the years regarding gender equality in the workforce, some industries remain male-dominated. Construction, telecom, utilities, and even aviation (pretty much, the industries we work with) have a much higher percentage of men than women in the workforce, and it’s definitely harder for women to work in places where they’re surrounded by bros.
For most employers, this is an unfortunate fact that is certainly not by design. One organization working to support and empower women in the industries we work with is the WICT network. (Women can search for a local chapter near them.) But how can employers help female employees succeed and encourage other women to enter the male-dominated industries? Let’s first look at what issues women face in these fields.
Obstacles for Women in Male-Dominated Jobs
One of the first steps toward helping your female employees find success is to identify the various barriers they encounter. Then, you can help knock them down! These are just some of the obstacles women deal with.
Women are often pigeonholed into a handful of accepted archetypes based on societal expectations. If they enforce high standards, they’re considered “mean,” but if they’re lenient and easygoing, then they “don’t have what it takes to be a leader.”
This unfair double standard makes it hard for female employees to thrive, let alone advance in the workplace.
Lack of Opportunities
Due in part to the stereotyping mentioned above, there can be a distinct lack of opportunity for female employees in male-dominated fields.
Male decision-makers may have a (misdirected) lack of confidence in female candidates. Worse yet, women may have a lack of confidence in themselves to go after the roles they want.
While in most cases female employees can do anything their male counterparts can do, some jobs have physical requirements and limitations. Whether it’s a mobility requirement or a weightlifting minimum, there are some circumstances that put women at a disadvantage. We see this often in industries like construction, firefighting, and utilities where males dominate positions as linemen, er, lineworkers. Even the term has historically been male, which is why we’re trying our best to use “lineworker” today.
The Dearth of Restroom Facilities
One thing these industries all have in common is a certain amount of field or on-location work, often far from any type of bathroom facility.
It’s usually easy for male employees to get creative when they have to go on the job, but it’s much more difficult for women and requires more break time. Trying to compete with their male coworkers, they often end up putting their health at risk by not using the restroom as often as they should.
How can you help women find success in male-dominated trades?
Here are a few simple ways to support your female workforce and focus on equity and inclusion:
Set an Example
An inclusive workplace culture starts at the top. Be sure to examine your company’s culture and practices and make corrections wherever you see gender bias interfering with your employees’ success.
Educating management along with modeling the behavior you expect in the workplace is the best way to ensure your employees get on board.
It’s crucial to be proactive in offering opportunities to women. By giving your female employees the chance to test their existing skill levels, they’re able to build confidence in their abilities.
Not to mention, when the time comes to promote someone, those chances to excel make it easier to spot promising employees who could have previously slipped through the cracks.
Be Upfront about Any Physical Requirements
Make sure to clearly list any physical requirements necessary for a position in the job listing so you don’t waste potential applicants’ time.
But don’t stop there! If presented with a promising applicant that may not meet all the requirements, think outside the box for any other positions they may be suitable for in lieu of a “thanks, but no thanks” response.
Provide Safe, Sanitary Restroom Solutions
At Brief Relief, we offer an extensive line of safe, sanitary, portable bathroom solutions that enable employees to do their business anywhere with dignity.
When on a site with only a truck for privacy, the Brief Relief Liquid Waste Bag is a compact, individually packaged bag for liquid waste that can be used by both men and women. It ensures everyone has a comfortable, sanitary way to go. It contains a unique blend of enzymes and polymers that convert urine into a deodorized gel, and it once it’s sealed, it can be thrown into any typical trash can.
If you’re looking for a complete solution for your crew, we recommend The Brief Relief Lavatory System. It includes:
- One Portable Briefcase Commode. This has all the comfort, height, and ease of a standard toilet with a full-size flexible seat.
- One Privacy Shelter. It’s portable, roomy, and easily deployed. The shelter provides privacy whenever and wherever you need it.
- Ten Brief Relief Daily Restroom Kits. Each kit comes complete with a secure, puncture-resistant waste bag, toilet paper, and a sanitizing wipe.
At Brief Relief, we lead the industry in safe, convenient products that manage waste in a dignified, reliable, and environmentally-friendly way.